US 20050174473 A1
The embodiments disclosed herein show how such LED methods and systems, especially intelligent LED systems, can be used for photographic and cinematography applications and provide many benefits. Controlled LED illumination allows easy customization of these features to create a particular mood and can be used to create light of desired saturation and hue.
1. A lighting system, comprising:
an LED lighting unit, and
camera, wherein the lighting unit lights a subject of the camera based on at least one of a desired lighting condition for the subject and a feature of the subject.
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43. A method for illuminating a subject of a photographic image comprising:
directing a camera at a subject; and
lighting the subject with an LED lighting unit based on at least one of a desired lighting condition for the subject and a feature of the subject.
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85. A lighting system comprising:
lighting means for lighting a subject with an LED lighting unit based on at least one of a desired lighting condition for the subject and a feature of the subject; and
camera means for capturing an image of the subject.
86. A lighting system for an imaging application, comprising:
a plurality of LED-based lighting units, wherein the lighting unit lights are controlled to eliminate double shadowing of an object.
87. A lighting system for an imaging application, comprising:
an LED-based lighting unit; and
a control system for providing CCT-tunable substantially white light to light a subject.
88. A lighting system of
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The present application claims the benefit, under 35 U.S.C. §119(e), of the following U.S. Provisional Applications:
Ser. No. 60/490,317, filed Jul. 25, 2003, entitled “Methods and Systems for LED-Based Lighting of Imaging Applications;” and U.S. Provisional Application filed Jul. 15, 2004, entitled “LED Package Methods and Systems,” naming inventors Mueller et al.
1. Field of the Invention
The present disclosure relates to the use and control of LED-based lighting systems for imaging applications including, but not limited to, photography, video and film.
2. Description of the Related Art
For situations where natural lighting is insufficient, photographers may use strobe lights, tungsten lighting or even fluorescent lighting to light their subjects. Tungsten lighting generates considerable heat, which can cause problems with some subjects. Fluorescent lighting is cooler and more efficient but there are issues with flicker and color temperature control. Strobe or flash lighting gives an intense burst of light flooding the subject with light to insure good image capture. Traditional analog film can use high output flashes because the entire film is exposed at once. However, most digital cameras require constant illumination, so strobes or flashes do not work as well, especially for high-resolution formats. Since digital photography sensitivity has not yet reached the sensitivity of film to light, the photographer may need more illumination than for normal film. Thus, the lighting level required can be high.
Lighting plays a strong role in the perception of an image. In color imagery, if a pale subject is adjacent to a complementary background, the saturation appears higher. Thus, control of the lighting color can dramatically affect the photographic image. Pastel colors bring a sense of calm, softness bringing a sense of relaxation and are soothing. Saturated colors, on the other hand, are vibrant and emotional.
Lighting quality is also a function of the lit surfaces, which can vary from matte surfaces (Lambertian) to glossy (specular), surface properties that include texture, color, and the effects of mirrors (reflectivity), glass (transparency) and translucent surfaces. Common challenges include lighting of skin and cosmetics, transparent objects, and others.
Studio photography can involve substantial setup and control for taking pictures to insure that the illumination is at the appropriate level and the scene is set. Artificial lighting is critical, since natural sources of light are not typically available or controllable. Lighting for studio photography is critical and can change the mood and tone of an image dramatically.
A great advantage to digital photography and filming over analog technology is that correct color images can be achieved even under very odd lighting conditions, without the need for filters. Digital cameras typically offer several White Balance options including Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash and others. Although it may be tempting for a user to simply set the digital camera on “Auto White Balance” and edit it in post-production, it may be preferred that the image be captured correctly in the first place to eliminate post-production issues. Auto balance features generally work well, but again, under low light conditions the exposure compensation may need to be increased to produce an image that is sufficiently bright. The “daylight” setting is good for warm light, typically outdoors or indoors if enough external light is available; however, such settings don't work for all environments.
In digital photography, post-production can often take as much time or more than the set-up and production of the actual image. Post-production color balancing and color adjustments are often required as well as editing of the image itself. Post-production time also requires skilled labor and can be very expensive. A need exists for lighting systems that improve the quality of photographic images, including images captured through digital photography.
Conventionally, LED light sources have not been considered for imaging applications due to their low light output. LED lighting control gives the ability to select color and give the final output without retouching or involving post-production. LEDs have improved to the point where they can provide an alternative to existing lighting technologies, including the area of imaging, such as for photography applications.
Given the nature and advantages of digital photography and filming there are numerous features that solid state illumination systems can bring to image capture. The embodiments disclosed herein show how such LED systems, especially intelligent LED systems, can be used for photographic and cinematography applications and provide many benefits. Controlled LED illumination allows easy customization of these features to create a particular mood and can be used to create light of desired saturation and hue.
Methods and systems are provided herein for LED modules that include an LED die integrated in an LED package with a submount that includes an electronic component for controlling the light emitted by the LED die. The electronic component integrated in the submount may include drive hardware, a network interface, memory, a processor, a switch-mode power supply, a power facility, or another type of electronic component.
In various aspects, the electronic component may include a photosensor.
In one aspect, there is disclosed herein a lighting system including an LED lighting unit, and a camera, wherein the lighting unit lights a subject of the camera based on at least one of a desired lighting condition for the subject and a feature of the subject. In another aspect, there is disclosed herein a method for illuminating a subject of a photographic image including directing a camera at a subject and lighting the subject with an LED lighting unit based on at least one of a desired lighting condition for the subject and a feature of the subject. In another aspect, there is disclosed herein a lighting system including lighting means for lighting a subject with an LED lighting unit based on at least one of a desired lighting condition for the subject and a feature of the subject, and camera means for capturing an image of the subject.
In these various aspects, there may additionally be a non-LED lighting unit. The camera may include a communication facility for communicating with the LED lighting unit. There may be a sensor. The sensor may be integral to the cameral, integral to the LED lighting unit, or external to the camera and the lighting unit. The LED lighting unit may be an unfiltered lighting unit, or the LED lighting unit may include a filter. There may be a timer. A feedback system may be associated with the camera to adjust the output of the LED lighting unit to obtain a desired illumination. A spatial control facility may be used.
The camera may include one or more of a film camera, a digital camera, a mini-camera, a television camera, a motion picture camera, a video camera, a video diskette camera, a still photography camera, a single lens reflex camera, a security camera, a telephoto camera, a point-and-shoot camera, a disposable camera, an underwater camera, a machine vision camera, a proximity detection camera, a large-format camera, a ultraviolet camera, and an infrared camera. The camera may include an optical element selected from the group consisting of a zoom lens, a telephoto lens, a wide-angle lens, a fifty millimeter lens, an array of optical elements, and a digital pixel array.
Color correction may be applied to balance at least one of a color of illumination of the subject and a color temperature of illumination of the subject. A user input may be included for controlling one or more of saturation of light and hue of light generated by the LED lighting unit. The LED lighting unit may be packaged in an LED package with at least one electronic component located in a submount of the LED package.
A gray card may be used to calibrate illumination of the subject in situ. A control facility may be used to control the LED lighting unit to simulate a time of day. The time of day may be, for example, morning, noon, or evening.
A plurality of lighting units may be used. Control signals may be sent to the plurality of lighting units using a serial addressing protocol. A pulsing facility may be used for pulsing the plurality of lighting units at a high current to provide high output for short periods of time. The plurality of lighting units may be arranged to substantially surround the subject.
A virtual model of the LED lighting unit and the subject may model effects of light from the LED lighting unit on an image of the subject captured by the camera.
A display may be included for viewing an image of the subject from the camera. There may also be a graphical user interface providing controls for one or more lighting effects in one or more regions of the image. One or more lighting effects may be generated by controlling the LED lighting unit in response to input received from the graphical user interface. Control signals may be generated to the LED lighting unit for color corrections to illumination of the subject in response to user may input of color values and/or intensity values. The manner in which the subject is illuminated with the LED lighting unit may be stored as descriptive information, and may be included with a digital image of the subject captured by the camera.
The LED lighting unit may be a flash unit. A touch-screen user interface may be provided for controlling the LED lighting unit. A diffuser may diffuse light from the LED lighting unit. The camera may be a disposable camera. The LED lighting unit may include a phosphor for converting the wavelength of light emitted by the lighting units. The LED lighting unit may be a foldable, flexible, flat lighting unit. The LED lighting unit may include one or more high-intensity LEDs.
The LED lighting unit may include a plurality of LEDs controllable to produce a range of colors and/or a range of intensities. The range of colors may be a range of discrete values. The range of intensities may be a range of discrete values. The plurality of LEDs may include LEDs having at least three different colors.
It should be appreciated that all combinations of the foregoing concepts and additional concepts discussed in greater detail below are contemplated as being part of the inventive subject matter disclosed herein. In particular, all combinations of claimed subject matter appearing at the end of this disclosure are contemplated as being part of the inventive subject matter disclosed herein.
The following patents and patent applications are hereby incorporated herein by reference:
U.S. Pat. No. 6,016,038, issued Jan. 18, 2000, entitled “Multicolored LED Lighting Method and Apparatus;”
U.S. Pat. No. 6,211,626, issued Apr. 3, 2001 to Lys et al, entitled “Illumination Components,”
U.S. Pat. No. 6,608,453, issued Aug. 19, 2003, entitled “Methods and Apparatus for Controlling Devices in a Networked Lighting System;”
U.S. Pat. No. 6,548,967, issued Apr. 15, 2003, entitled “Universal Lighting Network Methods and Systems;”
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/886,958, filed Jun. 21, 2001, entitled Method and Apparatus for Controlling a Lighting System in Response to an Audio Input;”
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/078,221, filed Feb. 19, 2002, entitled “Systems and Methods for Programming Illumination Devices;”
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/344,699, filed Jun. 25, 1999, entitled “Method for Software Driven Generation of Multiple Simultaneous High Speed Pulse Width Modulated Signals;”
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/805,368, filed Mar. 13, 2001, entitled “Light-Emitting Diode Based Products;”
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/716,819, filed Nov. 20, 2000, entitled “Systems and Methods for Generating and Modulating Illumination Conditions;”
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 60/553,318, filed Mar. 15, 2004, entitled “Power Control Methods and Apparatus;” and
The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the invention will be appreciated more fully from the following further description thereof, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
In embodiments, the system 100 may include an electrical facility 202 for powering and controlling electrical input to the light sources 300, which may include drive hardware 3802, such as circuits and similar elements, and the power facility 1800.
In embodiments the system can include a mechanical interface 3200 that allows the lighting unit 102 to mechanically connect to other portions of the system 100, or to external components, products, lighting units, housings, systems, hardware, or other items.
The lighting unit 102 may have a primary optical facility 1700, such as a lens, mirror, or other optical facility for shaping beams of light that exit the light source, such as photons exiting the semiconductor in an LED package.
The system 100 may include an optional secondary optical facility 400, which may diffuse, spread, focus, filter, diffract, reflect, guide or otherwise affect light coming from a light source 300. The secondary optical facility 400 may include one or many elements.
In embodiments, the light sources 300 may be disposed on a support structure, such as a board 204. The board 204 may be a circuit board or similar facility suitable for holding light sources 300 as well as electrical components, such as components used in the electrical facility 202.
In embodiments the system 100 may include a thermal facility 2500, such as a heat-conductive plate, metal plate, gap pad, liquid heat-conducting material, potting facility, fan, vent, or other facility for removing heat from the light sources 300.
The system 100 may optionally include a housing 800, which in embodiments may hold the board 204, the electrical facility 202, the mechanical interface 3200, and the thermal facility 2500. In some embodiments, no housing 800 is present.
In embodiments the system 100 is a standalone system with an on-board control facility 3500. The system 100 can include a processor 3600 for processing data to accept control instructions and to control the drive hardware 3802.
In embodiments the system 100 can respond to control of a user interface 4908, which may provide control directly to the lighting unit 102, such as through a switch, dial, button, dipswitch, slide mechanism, or similar facility or may provide control through another facility, such as a network interface 4902, a light system manager 5000, or other facility.
The system 100 can include a data storage facility 3700, such as memory. In a standalone embodiment the data storage facility 3700 may be memory, such as random access memory. In other embodiments the data storage facility 3700 may include any other facility for storing and retrieving data.
The system 100 can produce effects 9200, such as illumination effects 9300 that illuminate a subject 9900 and direct view effects 9400 where the viewer is intended to view the light sources 300 or the secondary optical facility 400 directly, in contrast to viewing the illumination produced by the light sources 300, as in illumination effects 9300. Effects can be static and dynamic, including changes in color, color-temperature, intensity, hue, saturation and other features of the light produced by the light sources 300. Effects from lighting units 102 can be coordinated with effects from other systems, including other lighting units 102.
The system 100 can be disposed in a wide variety of environments 9600, where effects 9200 interact with aspects of the environments 9600, such as subjects 9900, objects, features, materials, systems, colors or other characteristics of the environments. Environments 9600 can include interior and exterior environments, architectural and entertainment environments, underwater environments, commercial environment, industrial environments, recreational environments, home environments, transportation environments and many others.
Subjects 9900 can include a wide range of subjects 9900, ranging from objects such as walls, floors and ceilings to alcoves, pools, spas, fountains, curtains, people, signs, logos, buildings, rooms, objects of art and photographic subjects, among many others.
While embodiments of a control facility 3500 may be as simple as a single processor 3600, data storage facility 3700 and drive hardware 3802, in other embodiments more complex control facilities 3500 are provided. Control facilities may include more complex drive facilities 3800, including various forms of drive hardware 3802, such as switches, current sinks, voltage regulators, and complex circuits, as well as various methods of driving 4300, including modulation techniques such as pulse-width-modulation, pulse-amplitude-modulation, combined modulation techniques, table-based modulation techniques, analog modulation techniques, and constant current techniques. In embodiments a control facility 3500 may include a combined power/data protocol 4800 for controlling light sources 300 in response to data delivered over power lines.
A control facility 3500 may include a control interface 4900, which may include a physical interface 4904 for delivering data to the lighting unit 102. The control interface 4900 may also include a computer facility, such as a light system manager 5000 for managing the delivery of control signals, such as for complex shows and effects 9200 to lighting units 102, including large numbers of lighting units 102 deployed in complex geometric configurations over large distances.
The control interface 4900 may include a network interface 4902, such as for handling network signals according to any desired network protocol, such as DMX, Ethernet, TCP/IP, DALI, 802.11 and other wireless protocols, and linear addressing protocols, among many others. In embodiments the network interface 4902 may support multiple protocols for the same lighting unit 102.
In embodiments involving complex control, the physical data interface 4904 may include suitable hardware for handling data transmissions, such as USB ports, serial ports, Ethernet facilities, wires, routers, switches, hubs, access points, buses, multi-function ports, intelligent sockets, intelligent cables, flash and USB memory devices, file players, and other facilities for handling data transfers.
In embodiments the control facility 3500 may include an addressing facility 6600, such as for providing an identifier or address to one or more lighting units 102. Many kinds of addressing facility 6600 may be used, including facilities for providing network addresses, dipswitches, bar codes, sensors, cameras, and many others.
In embodiments the control facility 3500 may include an authoring facility 7400 for authoring effects 9200, including complex shows, static and dynamic effects. The authoring facility 7400 may be associated with the light system manager 5000, such as to facilitate delivery of control signals for complex shows and effects over a network interface 4900 to one or more lighting units 102. The authoring facility 7400 may include a geometric authoring facility, an interface for designing light shows, an object-oriented authoring facility, an animation facility, or any of a variety of other facilities for authoring shows and effects.
In embodiments the control facility 3500 may take input from a signal sources 8400, such as a sensor 8402, an information source, a light system manager 5000, a user interface 4908, a network interface 4900, a physical data interface 4904, an external system 8800, or any other source capable of producing a signal.
In embodiments the control facility 3500 may respond to an external system 8800. The external system 8800 may be a computer system, an automation system, a security system, an entertainment system, an audio system, a video system, a personal computer, a laptop computer, a handheld computer, or any of a wide variety of other systems that are capable of generating control signals.
Referring still to
Sources 300 may be constructed and arranged to produce a wide range of variable color radiation. For example, the source 300 may be particularly arranged such that the processor-controlled variable intensity light generated by two or more of the light sources combines to produce a mixed colored light (including essentially white light having a variety of color temperatures). In particular, the color (or color temperature) of the mixed colored light may be varied by varying one or more of the respective intensities of the light sources or the apparent intensities, such as using a duty cycle in a pulse width modulation technique. Combinations of LEDs with other mechanisms that affect light characteristics, such as phosphors, are also encompassed herein.
Any combination of LED colors can produce a gamut of colors, whether the LEDs are red, green, blue, amber, white, orange, UV, or other colors. The various embodiments described throughout this specification encompass all possible combinations of LEDs in lighting units 102, so that light of varying color, intensity, saturation and color temperature can be produced on demand under control of a control facility 3500.
Although mixtures of red, green and blue have been proposed for light due to their ability to create a wide gamut of additively mixed colors, the general color quality or color rendering capability of such systems are not ideal for all applications. This is primarily due to the narrow bandwidth of current red, green and blue emitters. However, wider band sources do make possible good color rendering, as measured, for example, by the standard CRI index. In some cases this may require LED spectral outputs that are not currently available. However, it is known that wider-band sources of light will become available, and such wider-band sources are encompassed as sources for lighting units 102 described herein.
Additionally, the addition of white LEDs (typically produced through a blue or UV LED plus a phosphor mechanism) does give a ‘better’ white, but it still can be limiting in the color temperature that is controllable or selectable from such sources.
The addition of white to a red, green and blue mixture may not increase the gamut of available colors, but it can add a broader-band source to the mixture. The addition of an amber source to this mixture can improve the color still further by ‘filling in’ the gamut as well.
Combinations of light sources 300 can help fill in the visible spectrum to faithfully reproduce desirable spectrums of lights. These include broad daylight equivalents or more discrete waveforms corresponding to other light sources or desirable light properties. Desirable properties include the ability to remove pieces of the spectrum for reasons that may include environments where certain wavelengths are absorbed or attenuated. Water, for example tends to absorb and attenuate most non-blue and non-green colors of light, so underwater applications may benefit from lights that combine blue and green sources 300.
Amber and white light sources can offer a color temperature selectable white source, wherein the color temperature of generated light can be selected along the black body curve by a line joining the chromaticity coordinates of the two sources. The color temperature selection is useful for specifying particular color temperature values for the lighting source.
Orange is another color whose spectral properties in combination with a white LED-based light source can be used to provide a controllable color temperature light from a lighting unit 102.
As used herein, “Color Kinetics” means Color Kinetics Incorporated a Delaware corporation with headquarters in Boston, Mass.
As used herein for purposes of the present disclosure, the term “LED” should be understood to include any light emitting diode or other type of carrier injection/junction-based system that is capable of generating radiation in response to an electric signal. Thus, the term LED includes, but is not limited to, various semiconductor-based structures that emit light in response to current, light emitting polymers, light-emitting strips, electro-luminescent strips, and the like.
In particular, the term LED refers to light emitting diodes of all types (including semi-conductor and organic light emitting diodes) that may be configured to generate radiation in one or more of the infrared spectrum, ultraviolet spectrum, and various portions of the visible spectrum (generally including radiation wavelengths from approximately 400 nanometers to approximately 700 nanometers). Some examples of LEDs include, but are not limited to, various types of infrared LEDs, ultraviolet LEDs, red LEDs, blue LEDs, green LEDs, yellow LEDs, amber LEDs, orange LEDs, and white LEDs (discussed further below). It also should be appreciated that LEDs may be configured to generate radiation having various bandwidths for a given spectrum (e.g., narrow bandwidth, broad bandwidth).
For example, one implementation of an LED configured to generate essentially white light (e.g., a white LED) may include a number of dies which respectively emit different spectrums of luminescence that, in combination, mix to form essentially white light. In another implementation, a white light LED may be associated with a phosphor material that converts luminescence having a first spectrum to a different second spectrum. In one example of this implementation, luminescence having a relatively short wavelength and narrow bandwidth spectrum “pumps” the phosphor material, which in turn radiates longer wavelength radiation having a somewhat broader spectrum.
It should also be understood that the term LED does not limit the physical and/or electrical package type of an LED. For example, as discussed above, an LED may refer to a single light emitting device having multiple dies that are configured to respectively emit different spectrums of radiation (e.g., that may or may not be individually controllable). Also, an LED may be associated with a phosphor that is considered as an integral part of the LED (e.g., some types of white LEDs). In general, the term LED may refer to packaged LEDs, non-packaged LEDs, surface mount LEDs, chip-on-board LEDs, radial package LEDs, power package LEDs, LEDs including some type of encasement and/or optical element (e.g., a diffusing lens), etc.
The term “light source” should be understood to refer to any one or more of a variety of radiation sources, including, but not limited to, LED-based sources as defined above, incandescent sources (e.g., filament lamps, halogen lamps), fluorescent sources, phosphorescent sources, high-intensity discharge sources (e.g., sodium vapor, mercury vapor, and metal halide lamps), lasers, other types of luminescent sources, electro-luminescent sources, pyro-luminescent sources (e.g., flames), candle-luminescent sources (e.g., gas mantles, carbon arc radiation sources), photo-luminescent sources (e.g., gaseous discharge sources), cathode luminescent sources using electronic satiation, galvano-luminescent sources, crystallo-luminescent sources, kine-luminescent sources, thermo-luminescent sources, triboluminescent sources, sonoluminescent sources, radioluminescent sources, and luminescent polymers.
A given light source may be configured to generate electromagnetic radiation within the visible spectrum, outside the visible spectrum, or a combination of both. Hence, the terms “light” and “radiation” are used interchangeably herein. Additionally, a light source may include as an integral component one or more filters (e.g., color filters), lenses, or other optical components. Also, it should be understood that light sources may be configured for a variety of applications, including, but not limited to, indication and/or illumination. An “illumination source” is a light source that is particularly configured to generate radiation having a sufficient intensity to effectively illuminate an interior or exterior space.
The term “spectrum” should be understood to refer to any one or more frequencies (or wavelengths) of radiation produced by one or more light sources. Accordingly, the term “spectrum” refers to frequencies (or wavelengths) not only in the visible range, but also frequencies (or wavelengths) in the infrared, ultraviolet, and other areas of the overall electromagnetic spectrum. Also, a given spectrum may have a relatively narrow bandwidth (essentially few frequency or wavelength components) or a relatively wide bandwidth (several frequency or wavelength components having various relative strengths). It should also be appreciated that a given spectrum may be the result of a mixing of two or more other spectrums (e.g., mixing radiation respectively emitted from multiple light sources).
For purposes of this disclosure, the term “color” is used interchangeably with the term “spectrum.” However, the term “color” generally is used to refer primarily to a property of radiation that is perceivable by an observer (although this usage is not intended to limit the scope of this term). Accordingly, the terms “different colors” implicitly refer to different spectrums having different wavelength components and/or bandwidths. It also should be appreciated that the term “color” may be used in connection with both white and non-white light.
The term “color temperature” generally is used herein in connection with white light, although this usage is not intended to limit the scope of this term. Color temperature essentially refers to a particular color content or shade (e.g., reddish, bluish) of white light. The color temperature of a given radiation sample conventionally is characterized according to the temperature in degrees Kelvin (K) of a black body radiator that radiates essentially the same spectrum as the radiation sample in question. The color temperature of white light generally falls within a range of from approximately 700 degrees K (generally considered the first visible to the human eye) to over 10,000 degrees K.
Lower color temperatures generally indicate white light having a more significant red component or a “warmer feel,” while higher color temperatures generally indicate white light having a more significant blue component or a “cooler feel.” By way of example, a wood burning fire has a color temperature of approximately 1,800 degrees K, a conventional incandescent bulb has a color temperature of approximately 2848 degrees K, early morning daylight has a color temperature of approximately 3,000 degrees K, and overcast midday skies have a color temperature of approximately 10,000 degrees K. A color image viewed under white light having a color temperature of approximately 3,000 degree K has a relatively reddish tone, whereas the same color image viewed under white light having a color temperature of approximately 10,000 degrees K has a relatively bluish tone.
Illuminators may be selected so as to produce a desired level of output, such as a desired total number of lumens of output, such as to make a lighting unit 102 consistent with or comparable to another lighting unit 102, which might be a semiconductor illuminator or might be another type of lighting unit, such as an incandescent, fluorescent, halogen or other light source, such as if a designer or architect wishes to fit semiconductor-based lighting units 102 into installations that use such traditional units.
The number and type of semiconductor illuminators can be selected to produce the desired lumens of output, such as by selecting some number of one-watt, five-watt, power package or other LEDs. In embodiments two or three LEDs are chosen. In other embodiments any number of LEDs, such as six, nine, twenty, thirty, fifty, one hundred, three hundred or more LEDs can be chosen.
Diffusing material can be a substantially light-transmissive material, such as a fluid, gel, polymer, gas, liquid, vapor, solid, crystal, fiber optic material, or other material. In embodiments the material may be a flexible material, so that the diffuser may be made flexible. The diffuser may be made of a flexible material or a rigid material, such as a plastic, rubber, a crystal, PVC, glass, a polymer, a metal, an alloy or other material.
Other examples of optical facilities 400 include, but are not limited to, reflectors, lenses, reflective materials, refractive materials, translucent materials, filters, mirrors, spinning mirrors, dielectric mirrors, Bragg cells, MEMs, acousto-optic modulators, crystals, gratings and fiber optics. The optical facility 400 also may include a phosphorescent material, luminescent material, or other material capable of responding to or interacting with the generated radiation.
Variable optics can provide discrete or continuous adjustment of beam spread or angle or simply the profile of the light beam emitted from a fixture. Properties can include, but are not limited to, adjusting the profile for surfaces that vary in distance from the fixture, such as wall washing fixtures. In various embodiments, the variable nature of the optic can be manually adjusted, adjusted by motion control or automatically be controlled dynamically.
Actuation can also be through an electromagnetic motor or one of many actuation materials and devices. Optical facilities 400 can also include other actuators, such as piezoelectric devices, MEMS devices, thermal actuators, processors, and many other forms of actuators.
A wide range of optical facilities 400 can be used to control light. Such devices as Bragg cells or holographic films can be used as optical facilities 400 to vary the output of a fixture. A Bragg cell or acoustic-optic modulator can provide for the movement of light with no other moving mechanisms. The combination of controlling the color (hue, saturation and value) as well as the form of the light beam brings a tremendous amount of operative control to a light source. The use of polarizing films can be used to reduce glare and allow the illumination and viewing of objects that present specular surfaces, which typically are difficult to view. Moving lenses and shaped non-imaging surfaces can provide optical paths to guide and shape light.
In other embodiments, fluid-filled surfaces 428 and shapes can be manipulated to provide an optical path. In combination with lighting units, such shapes can provide varying optical properties across the surface and volume of the fluid-filled material. The fluid-filled material can also provide a thermal dissipation mechanism for the light-emitting elements. The fluid can be water, polymers, silicone or other transparent or translucent liquid or a gas of any type and mixture with desirable optical or thermal properties.
In other embodiments, gelled, filled shapes can be used in conjunction with light sources to evenly illuminate said shapes. Light propagation and diffusion is accomplished through the scattering of light through the shape.
In other embodiments, spinning mirror systems such as those used in laser optics for scanning (E.g. bar code scanners or 3D terrain scanners) can be used to direct and move a beam of light. That combined with the ability to rapidly turn on and off a lighting unit 102 can allow a beam of light to be spread across a larger area and change colors to ‘draw’ shapes of varying patterns. Other optical facilities 400 for deflecting and changing light patterns are known and described in the literature. They include methods for beam steering, such as mechanical mirrors, driven by stepper or galvanometer motors and more complex robotic mechanisms for producing sophisticated temporal effects or static control of both color (HS&V) and intensity. Optical facilities 400 also include acousto-optic modulators that use sound waves generated via piezoelectrics to control and steer a light beam. They also include digital mirror devices and digital light processors, such as available from Texas Instruments. They also include grating light valve technology (GLV), as well as inorganic digital light deflection. They also include dielectric mirrors, such as developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Control of form and texture of the light can include not only control of the shape of the beam but also control of the way in which the light is patterned across its beam. An example of a use of this technology may be in visual merchandising, where product ‘spotlights’ could be created while other media is playing in a coordinated manner. Voice-overs or music-overs or even video can be played during the point at which a product is highlighted during a presentation. Lights that move and ‘dance’ can be used in combination with A/V sources for visual merchandising purposes.
Optical facilities 400 can be light pipes, lenses, light guides and fibers and any other light transmitting materials.
In other embodiments, non-imaging optics are used as an optical facility. Non-imaging optics do not require traditional lenses. They use shaped surfaces to diffuse and direct light. A fundamental issue with fixtures using discrete light sources is mixing the light to reduce or eliminate color shadows and to produce uniform and homogenous light output. Part of the issue is the use of high efficiency surfaces that do not absorb light but bounce and reflect the light in a desired direction or manner. Optical facilities can be used to direct light to create optical forms of illumination from lighting units 102.
The actuator 404 can be any type of actuator for providing linear movement, such as an electromechanical element, a screw drive mechanism (such as used in computer printers), a screw drive, or other element for linear movement known to those of ordinary skill in the art.
In embodiments the optical facility is a fluid filled lens, which contains a compressible fluid, such as a gas or liquid. The actuator includes a valve for delivering fluid to the interior chamber of the lens.
In embodiments a digital mirror 408 serves as an optical facility 400. The digital mirror is optionally under control of a processor 3600, which governs the reflective properties of the digital mirror.
In embodiments a spinning mirror system 614 serves as an optical facility 400. As in other embodiments, the spinning mirror system is responsive to the control of a processor, which may be integrated with it or separate.
In embodiments a grating light valve (GLV) 418 serves as an optical facility 400. The grating light valve can receive light from a lighting unit under control of a processor. GLV uses micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology and optical physics to vary how light is reflected from each of multiple ribbon-like structures that represent a particular “image point” or pixel. The ribbons can move a tiny distance, such as between an initial state and a depressed state. When the ribbons move, they change the wavelength of reflected light. Grayscale tones can also be achieved by varying the speed at which given pixels are switched on and off. The resulting image can be projected in a wide variety of environments, such as a large arena with a bright light source or on a small device using low power light sources. In the GLV, picture elements (pixels) are formed on the surface of a silicon chip and become the source for projection.
In embodiments an acousto-optical modulator serves as an optical facility 400. Also known as a tunable filter and as a Bragg cell, the acousto-optical modulator consists of a crystal that is designed to receive acoustic waves generated, for example, by a transducer, such as a piezoelectric transducer. The acoustic standing waves produce index of refraction changes in the crystal, essentially due to a Doppler shift, so that the crystal serves as a tunable diffraction grating. Incident light, such as from a lighting unit 102, is reflected in the crystal by varying degrees, depending on the wavelength of the acoustic standing waves induced by the transducer. The transducer can be responsive to a processor, such as to convert a signal of any type into an acoustic signal that is sent through the crystal.
Referring again to
In embodiments the light pipe 420 serves as an optical facility, delivering light from one or more lighting systems 102 to an illuminated material. The lighting systems 100 are optionally controlled by a control facility 3500, which controls the lighting systems 102 to send light of selected colors, color temperatures, intensities and the like into the interior of the light pipe. In other embodiments a central controller is not required, such as in embodiments where the lighting systems 102 include their own processor. In embodiments one or more lighting systems 102 may be equipped with a communications facility, such as a data port, receiver, transmitter, or the like. Such lighting systems 102 may receive and transmit data, such as to and from other lighting systems 100. Thus, a chain of lighting systems 100 in a light pipe may transmit not only light, but also data along the pipe, including data that sends control signals for the lighting systems disposed in the pipe.
The optical facility may be a color mixing system 422 for mixing color from a lighting unit 102. The color mixing system may consist of two opposing truncated conical sections, which meet at a boundary. Light from a lighting unit 102 is delivered into the color mixing system and reflected from the interior surfaces of the two sections. The reflections mix the light and produce a mixed light from the distal end of the color mixing system. U.S. Pat. No. 2,686,866 to Williams, incorporated by reference herein, shows a color mixing lighting apparatus utilizing two inverted cones to reflect and mix the light from multiple sources. By combining a color mixing system such as this with color changes from the lighting unit 102, a user can produce a wide variety of lighting effects.
Other color mixing systems can work well in conjunction with color changing lighting systems 102. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 2,673,923 to Williams, also incorporated by reference herein, uses a series of lens plates for color mixing.
In embodiments an optical facility is depicted consisting of a plurality of cylindrical lens elements. These cylindrical elements diffract light from a lighting unit 102, producing a variety of patterns of different colors, based on the light from the lighting unit 102. The cylinders may be of a wide variety of sizes, ranging from microlens materials to conventional lenses.
In embodiments the optical facility 400 is a microlens array 424. The microlens array consists of a plurality of microscopic hexagonal lenses, aligned in a honeycomb configuration. Microlenses are optionally either refractive or diffractive, and can be as small as a few microns in diameter. Microlens arrays can be made using standard materials such as fused silica and silicon and newer materials such as Gallium Phosphide, making possible a very wide variety of lenses. Microlenses can be made on one side of a material or with lenses on both sides of a substrate aligned to within as little as one micron. Surface roughness values of 20 to 80 angstroms RMS are typical, and the addition of various coatings can produce optics with very high transmission rates. The microlens array can refract or diffract light from a lighting unit 102 to produce a variety of effects.
In embodiments a microlens array optical facility 400 can consist of a plurality of substantially circular lens elements. The array can be constructed of conventional materials such as silica, with lens diameters on the range of a few microns. The array can operate on light from a lighting unit 102 to produce a variety of colors and optical effects.
In embodiments a microlens array is disposed in a flexible material, so that the optical facility 400 can be configured by bending and shaping the material that includes the array.
In embodiments a flexible microlens array is rolled to form a cylindrical shape for receiving light from a lighting unit 102. The configuration could be used, for example, as a light-transmissive lamp shade with a unique appearance.
In embodiments a system can be provided to roll a microlens array about an axis. A drive mechanism can roll or unroll the flexible array under control of a controller. The controller can also control a lighting unit 102, so that the array is disposed in front of the lighting unit 102 or rolled away from it, as selected by the user.
The terms “lighting unit,” “luminaire” and “lighting fixture” are used herein to refer to an apparatus including one or more light sources 300. A given lighting unit 102 may have any one of a variety of mounting arrangements for the light source(s) in a variety of housings 800. Housings 800 may include enclosures, platforms, boards, mountings, and many other form factors, including forms designed for other purposes. Housings 800 may be made of any material, such as metals, alloys, plastics, polymers, and many others.
Housings 800 may be configured to resemble retrofit bulbs, fluorescent bulbs, incandescent bulbs, halogen lamps, high-intensity discharge lamps, or other kinds of bulbs and lamps. Housings 800 may be configured to resemble neon lights, such as for signs, logos, or decorative purposes. Housings 800 may be configured to highlight architectural features, such as lines of a building, room or architectural feature. Housings 800 may be configured for various industrial applications, such as medical lighting, surgical lighting, automotive lighting, under-car lighting, machine vision lighting, photographic lighting, lighting for building interiors or exteriors, lighting for transportation facilities, lighting for pools, spas, fountains and baths, and many other kinds of lighting.
Additionally, one or more lighting units similar to that described in connection with
Lighting units 102 encompassed herein include lighting units 102 configured to resemble all conventional light bulb types, so that lighting units 102 can be conveniently retrofitted into fixtures, lamps and environments suitable for such environments. Such retrofitting lighting units 102 can be designed, as disclosed above and in the applications incorporated herein by reference, to use conventional sockets of all types, as well as conventional lighting switches, dimmers, and other controls suitable for turning on and off or otherwise controlling conventional light bulbs. Retrofit lighting units 102 encompassed herein include incandescent lamps, such as A15 Med, A19 Med, A21 Med, A21 3C Med, A23 Med, B10 Blunt Tip, B10 Crystal, B10 Candle, F15, GT, C7 Candle C7 DC Bay, C15, CA10, CA8, G16/1/2 Cand, G16-1/2 Med, G25 Med, G30 Med, G40 Med, S6 Cand, S6 DC Bay, S11 Cand, S11 DC Bay, S11 Inter, S11 Med, S14 Med, S19 Med, LINESTRA 2-base, T6 Cand, T7 Cand, T7 DC Bay, T7 Inter, T8 Cand, T8 DC Bay, T8 Inter, T10 Med, T6-1/2 Inter, T6-1/2 DC Bay, R16 Med, ER30 Med, ER40 Med, BR30 Med, BR40 Med, R14 Inter, R14 Med, K19, R20 Med, R30 Med, R40 Med, R40 Med Skrt, R40 Mog, R52 Mog, P25 Med, PS25 3C, PS25 Med, PS30 Med, PS35 Mog, PS52 Mog, PAR38 Med Skrt, PAR38 Med Sid Pr, PAR46 Scrw Trm, PAR46 Mog End Pr, PAR 46 Med Sid Pr, PAR56 Scrw Trm, PAR56 Mog End Pr, PAR 64 Scrw Trm, and PAR64 Ex Mog End Pr. Also, retrofit lighting units 102 include conventional tungsten/halogen lamps, such as BT4, T3, T4 BI-PIN, T4 G9, MR16, MR11, PAR14, PAR16, PAR16 GU10, PAR20, PAR30, PAR30LN, PAR36, PAR38 Medium Skt., PAR38 Medium Side Prong, AR70, AR111, PAR56 Mog End Pr, PAR64 Mog End Pr, T4 DC Bayonet, T3, T4 Mini Can, T3, T4 RSC Double End, T10, and MB19. Lighting units 102 can also include retrofit lamps configured to resemble high intensity discharge lamps, such as E17, ET18, ET23.5, E25, BT37, BT56, PAR20, PAR30, PAR38, R40, T RSC base, T Fc2 base, T G12 base, T G8.5 base, T Mogul base, and TBY22d base lamps. Lighting units 102 can also be configured to resemble fluorescent lamps, such as T2 Axial Base, T5 Miniature Bipin, T8 Medium Bipin, T8 Medium Bipin, T12 Medium Bipin, U-shaped t-12, OCTRON T-8 U-shaped, OCTRON T8 Recessed Double Contact, T12 Recessed Double Contact, T14-1/2 Recessed Double Contact, T6 Single Pin, T8 Single Pin, T12 Single Pin, ICETRON, Circline 4-Pin T-19, PENTRON CIRCLINE 4-pin T5, DULUX S, DULUX S/E, DULUX D, DULUX D/E, DULUX T, DULUX T/E, DULUX T/E/IN, DULUX L, DULUX F, DULUX EL Triple, DULUX EL TWIST DULUX EL CLASSIC, DULUX EL BULLET, DULUX EL Low Profile GLOBE, DULUX EL GLOBE, DULUE EL REFLECTOR, and DULUX EL Circline. Lighting units 102 can also include specialty lamps, such as for medical, machine vision, or other industrial or commercial applications, such as airfield/aircraft lamps, audio visual maps, special purpose heat lamps, studio, theatre, TV and video lamps, projector lamps, discharge lamps, marine lamps, aquatic lamps, and photo-optic discharge lamps, such as HBO, HMD, HMI, HMP, HSD, HSR, HTI, LINEX, PLANON, VIP, XBO and XERADEX lamps. Other lamps types can be found in product catalog for lighting manufacturers, such as the Sylvania Lamp and Ballast Product Catalog 2002, from Sylvania Corporation or similar catalogs offered by General Electric and Philips Corporation.
In embodiments the lighting system may have a housing configured to resemble a fluorescent or neon light. The housing may be linear, curved, bent, branched, or in a “T” or “V” shape, among other shapes.
Housings 800 can take various shapes, such as one that resembles a point source, such as a circle or oval. Such a point source can be located in a conventional lighting fixture, such as lamp or a cylindrical fixture. Lighting units 102 can be configured in substantially linear arrangements, either by positioning point sources in a line, or by disposing light sources substantially in a line on a board located in a substantially linear housing, such as a cylindrical housing. A linear lighting unit can be placed end-to-end with other linear elements or elements of other shapes to produce longer linear lighting systems comprised of multiple lighting units 102 in various shapes. A housing can be curved to form a curvilinear lighting unit. Similarly, junctions can be created with branches, “Ts,” or “Ys” to created a branched lighting unit. A bent lighting unit can include one or more “V” elements. Combinations of various configurations of point source, linear, curvilinear, branched and bent lighting units 102 can be used to create any shape of lighting system, such as one shaped to resemble a letter, number, symbol, logo, object, structure, or the like.
Housings 800 can include or be combined to produce three-dimensional configurations, such as made from a plurality of lighting units 102. Linear lighting units 102 can be used to create three-dimensional structures and objects, or to outline existing structures and objects when disposed along the lines of such structures and objects. Many different displays, objects, structures, and works of art can be created using linear lighting units as a medium. Examples include pyramid configurations, building outlines and two-dimensional arrays. Linear units in two-dimensional arrays can be controlled to act as pixels in a lighting show.
In embodiments the housing 800 may be a housing for an architectural, theatrical, or entertainment lighting fixture, luminaire, lamp, system or other product. The housing 800 may be made of a metal, a plastic, a polymer, a ceramic material, glass, an alloy or another suitable material. The housing 800 may be cylindrical, hemispherical, rectangular, square, or another suitable shape. The size of the housing may range from very small to large diameters, depending on the nature of the lighting application. The housing 800 may be configured to resemble a conventional architectural lighting fixture, such as to facilitate installation in proximity to other fixtures, including those that use traditional lighting technologies such as incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, or the like. The housing 800 may be configured to resemble a lamp. The housing 800 may be configured as a spot light, a down light, an up light, a cove light, an alcove light, a sconce, a border light, a wall-washing fixture, an alcove light, an area light, a desk lamp, a chandelier, a ceiling fan light, a marker light, a theatrical light, a moving-head light, a pathway light, a cove light, a recessed light, a track light, a wall fixture, a ceiling fixture, a floor fixture, a circular fixture, a spherical fixture, a square fixture, a rectangular fixture, an accent light, a pendant, a parabolic fixture, a strip light, a soffit light, a valence light, a floodlight, an indirect lighting fixture, a direct lighting fixture, a flood light, a cable light, a swag light, a picture light, a portable luminaire, an island light, a torchiere, a boundary light, a flush or any other kind architectural or theatrical lighting fixture or luminaire.
Housings may also take appropriate shapes for various specialized, industrial, commercial or high performance lighting applications. For example, in an embodiment a miniature system, such as might be suitable for medical or surgical applications or other applications demanding very small light systems 100, can include a substantially flat light shape, such as round, square, triangular or rectangular shapes, as well as non-symmetric shapes such as tapered shapes. In many such embodiments, housing 800 could be generally described as a planar shape with some small amount of depth for components. The housing 800 can be small and round, such as about ten millimeters in diameter (and can be designed with the same or similar configuration at many different scales). The housing 800 may include a power facility, a mounting facility and an optical facility. The housing 800 and optical facility can be made of metals or plastic materials suitable for medical use.
In embodiments a housing 800 may be configured as a sphere or ball, so as to produce light in substantially all directions. The ball housing 800 can be made of plastic or glass material that could be transparent for maximum light projection or diffuse to provide softer light output that is less subject to reflections. The ball housing 800 could be very small, such as the size of a marble or a golf ball, so that it is easily managed in environments that require miniature light systems 100, or it could be very large, such as in art, architectural, and entertainment applications. Multiple balls can be used simultaneously to provide additional light. If it is desired to have directional light from a ball lighting system 100, then part of the ball can be made dark.
Housings 800 can incorporate lighting units 102 into conventional objects, such as tools, utensils, or other objects. For example, a housing 800 may be shaped into a surgical tool, such as tweezers, forceps, retractors, knives, scalpels, suction tubes, clamps or the like. A lighting unit 102 can be collocated at the end of a tool and provide illumination to the working area of the tool. One of many advantages of this type of tool is the ability to directly illuminate the working area, avoiding the tendency of tools or the hands that use them to obscure the working area. Tools can have onboard batteries or include other power facilities as described herein.
Housings 800 can also be configured as conventional tools with integrated lighting units 102, such as hammers, screw drivers, wrenches (monkey wrenches, socket wrenches and the like), pliers, vise-grips, awls, knives, forks, spoons, wedges, drills, drill bits, saws (circular saws, jigsaws, mitre saws and the like), sledge hammers, shovels, digging tools, plumbing tools, trowels, rakes, axes, hatchets and other tools. As with surgical tools, including the lighting unit 102 as part of the tool itself allows lighting a work area or work piece without the light being obscured by the tool or the user.
In embodiments a light source 300 may be equipped with a primary optical facility 1700, such as a lens, diode package, or phosphor for shaping, spreading or otherwise optically operating on photons that exit the semiconductor in an LED. For example, a phosphor may be used to convert UV or blue radiation coming out of a light source 300 into broader band illumination, such as white illumination. Primary optical facilities may include packages such as those used for one-watt, three-watt, five-watt and power packages offered by manufacturers such as LumiLeds, Nichia, Cree and Osram-Opto.
In one embodiment, the lighting unit 102 or a light source 300 of
Light sources 300 have varying power requirements. Accordingly, lighting units 102 may be provided with dedicated power supplies that take power from power lines and convert it to power suitable for running a lighting unit 102. Power supplies may be separate from lighting units 102 or may be incorporated on-board the lighting units 102 in power-on-board configurations. Power supplies may power multiple lighting units 102 or a single lighting unit 102. In embodiments power supplies may provide low-voltage output or high-voltage output. Power supplies may take line voltage or may take power input that is interrupted or modified by other devices, such as user interfaces 4908, such as switches, dials, sliders, dimmers, and the like.
In embodiments a line voltage power supply is integrated into a lighting system 100 and a power line carrier (PLC) serves as a power facility 1800 and as a control facility 3500 for delivering data to the lighting units 102 in the lighting system 100 over the power line. In other cases a lighting system 100 ties into existing power systems (120 or 220VAC), and the data is separately wired or provided through wireless.
A power facility 1800 may include a battery, such as a watch-style battery, such as Lithium, Alkaline, Silver-Zinc, Nickel-Cadmium, Nickel metal hydride, Lithium ion and others. The power facility 1800 may include a thin-form polymer battery that has the advantage of being very low profile and flexible, which can be useful for lighting unit configurations in flexible forms such as ribbons and tape. A power facility 1800 may also comprise a fuel cell, photovoltaic cell, solar cell or similar energy-producing facility. A power facility 1800 may be a supercapacitor, a large-value capacitor that can store much more energy than a conventional capacitor. Charging can be accomplished externally through electrical contacts and the lighting device can be reused. A power facility 1800 can include an inductive charging facility. An inductive charging surface can be brought in proximity to a lighting unit 102 to charge an onboard power source, allowing, for example, a housing 800 to be sealed to keep out moisture and contaminants.
Battery technologies typically generate power at specific voltage levels such as 1.2 or 1.5V DC. LED light sources 300, however, typically require forward voltages ranging from around 2VDC to 3.2VDC. As a result batteries may be put in series to achieve the required voltage, or a boost converter may be used to raise the voltage.
It is also possible to use natural energy sources as a power facility 1800, such as solar power, the body's own heat, mechanical power generation, the body's electrical field, wind power, water power, or the like.
In embodiments it is desirable to provide power and data over the same line. Referring to
Semiconductor devices like LED light sources 300 can be damaged by heat; accordingly, a system 100 may include a thermal facility 2500 for removing heat from a lighting unit 102. Referring to
The thermal facility 2500 can also be a conduction facility 2600, such as a conducting plate or pad of metal, alloy, or other heat-conducting material, a gap pad 2602 between a board 204 bearing light sources 300 and another facility, a thermal conduction path between heat-producing elements such as light sources 300 and circuit elements, or a thermal potting facility, such as a polymer for coating heat-producing elements to receive and trap heat away from the light sources 300. The thermal facility 2500 may be a radiation facility 2800 for allowing heat to radiate away from a lighting unit 102. A fluid thermal facility 2900 can permit flow of a liquid or gas to carry heat away from a lighting unit 102. The fluid may be water, a chlorofluorocarbon, a coolant, or the like. In a preferred embodiment a conductive plate is aluminum or copper. In embodiments a thermal conduction path 2720 conducts heat from a circuit board 204 bearing light sources 300 to a housing 800, so that the housing 800 radiates heat away from the lighting unit 102.
In embodiments the modular interface 3202 comprises a board 204 with a light source 300 on one side and drive circuit elements on the other side, or two boards 204 with the respective elements on opposite sides and the boards 204 coupled together. The modular interface 3202 may be designed to allow removal or replacement of a lighting unit 102, either in the user environment of the lighting unit 102 or at the factory. In embodiments a lighting unit 102 has a mechanical retrofit interface 3300 for allowing it to fit the housing of a traditional lighting source, such as a halogen bulb 3302. In embodiments the modular interface 3200 is designed to allow multiple lighting units 102 to fit together, such as a modular block 3204 with teeth, slots, and other connectors that allow lighting units 102 to serve as building blocks for larger systems of lighting units 102.
In embodiments the retrofit interface 3300 allows the lighting unit 102 to retrofit into the mechanical structure of a traditional lighting source, such as screw for an Edison-mount socket, pins for a Halogen socket, ballasts for a fluorescent fixture, or the like.
In embodiments the mechanical interface is a socket interface 3400, such as to allow the lighting unit 102 to fit into any conventional type of socket, which in embodiments may be a socket equipped with a control facility 3500, i.e., a smart socket.
In embodiments the mechanical interface 3200 is a circuit board 204 on which a plurality of light sources 300 are disposed. The board 204 can be configured to fit into a particular type of housing 800, such as any of the housings 800 described above. In embodiments the board 204 may be moveably positioned relative to the position of the housing 800. A control facility may adjust the position of the board 204.
A kit may be provided for producing an illumination system, which may include light sources 300, components for a control facility 3500, and instructions for using the control facility components to control the light sources 300 to produce an illumination effect.
In embodiments a control facility 3500 for a light source 300 may be disposed on a second board 204, so that the control facility 3500 can be moveably positioned relative to the board 204 on which the light sources 300 are disposed. In embodiments the board for the control facility 3500 and the board 204 for the light sources 300 are configured to mechanically connect in a modular way, permitting removal and replacement of one board 204 relative to the other, whether during manufacturing or in the field.
A developer's kit may be provided including light sources 300, a circuit board 204 and instructions for integrating the board 204 into a housing 800. A board 204 with light sources 300 may be provided as a component for a manufacturer of a lighting system 100. The component may further include a chip, firmware, and instructions or specifications for configuring the system into a lighting system 100.
In embodiments a board 204 carrying LEDs may be configured to fit into an architectural lighting fixture housing 800 or other housing 800 as described above.
In embodiments, a light source 300 can be configured with an off-axis mounting facility or a light shade that selectively allows light to shine through in certain areas and not in others. These techniques can be used to reduce glare and light shining directly into the eyes of a user of the lighting unit 102. Snap-on lenses can be used atop the light-emitting portion to allow for a much wider selection of light patterns and optical needs. In embodiments a disk-shaped light source 300 emits light in one off-axis direction. The light can then be rotated about the center axis to direct the light in a desired direction. The device may be simply picked up, rotated, and placed back down using the fastening means such as magnetic or clamp (see below for more fastening options) or may simply incorporate a rotational mechanism.
A mechanical interface 3200 may include facilities for fastening lighting units 102 or light sources 300, such as to platforms, tools, housing or the like. Embodiments include a magnetic fastening facility. In embodiments a lighting unit 102 is clamped or screwed into a tool or instrument. For example, a screw-type clamp 2108 can be used to attach a lighting unit 102 to another surface. A toggle-type clamp can be used, such as De-Sta-Co style clamps as used in the surgical field. A clip or snap-on facility can be used to attach a lighting unit 102 and allow flexing elements. A flexible clip 2110 can be added to the back of a lighting device 102 to make it easy to attach to another surface. A spring-clip, similar to a binder clip, can be attached to the back of a lighting unit 102. A flexing element can provide friction when placed on another surface. Fasteners can include a spring-hinge mechanism, string, wire, Ty-wraps, hook and loop fastener 2114, adhesives or the like. Fastening materials include bone wax 2112; a beeswax compound (sometimes mixed with Vaseline), which can be hand, molded, and can also be used for holding the lighting device 102. The exterior of the lighting device 102 can be textured to provide grip and holding power to facilitate the fastening. Tapes, such as surgical DuoPlas tape from Sterion, are another example of materials that can be used to fasten the light to tools, instruments, and drapes or directly to the patient.
Mechanical interfaces 3200 configured as boards 204 on which light sources 300 are disposed can take many shapes, including shapes that allow the boards 204 to be used as elements, such as tiles, to make up larger structures. Thus, a board 204 can be a triangle 2118, square 2120, hexagon, or other element that can serve as a subunit of a larger pattern, such as a two-dimensional planar pattern or a three-dimensional object, such as a regular polyhedron or irregular object.
In embodiments, mechanical interfaces 3200 can include thermal facilities 2500 such as those described above as well as facilities for delivering power and data.
A control facility 3500 may produce a signal for instructing a light system 100 lighting unit 102 to produce a desired light output, such as a mixture of light from different light sources 300. Control facilities can be local to a lighting unit 102 or remote from the lighting unit 102. Multiple lighting units 102 can be linked to central control facilities 3500 or can have local control facilities 3500. Control facilities can use a wide range of data protocols, ranging from simple switches for “on” and “off” capabilities to complex data protocols such as Ethernet and DMX.
In embodiments the control facility 3500 includes the processor 3600. “Processor” or “controller” describes various apparatus relating to the operation of one or more light sources. A processor or controller can be implemented in numerous ways, such as with dedicated hardware, using one or more microprocessors that are programmed using software (e.g., microcode or firmware) to perform the various functions discussed herein, or as a combination of dedicated hardware to perform some functions and programmed microprocessors and associated circuitry to perform other functions. The terms “program” or “computer program” are used herein in a generic sense to refer to any type of computer code (e.g., software or microcode) that can be employed to program one or more processors or controllers, including by retrieval of stored sequences of instructions.
In particular, in a networked lighting system environment, as discussed in greater detail further below (e.g., in connection with
In one aspect of this embodiment, the processor 3600 of a given lighting unit, whether or not coupled to a network, may be configured to interpret lighting instructions/data that are received in a DMX protocol (as discussed, for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,016,038 and 6,211,626), which is a lighting command protocol conventionally employed in the lighting industry for some programmable lighting applications. However, it should be appreciated that lighting units suitable for purposes of the present invention are not limited in this respect, as lighting units according to various embodiments may be configured to be responsive to other types of communication protocols so as to control their respective light sources.
In other embodiments the processor 3600 may be an application specific integrated circuit, such as one configured to respond to instructions according to a protocol, such as the DMX protocol, Ethernet protocols, or serial addressing protocols where each ASIC responds to control instructions directed to it, based on the position of the ASIC in a string of similar ASICs.
In various implementations, a processor or controller may be associated with a data facility 3700, which can comprise one or more storage media (generically referred to herein as “memory,” e.g., volatile and non-volatile computer memory such as RAM, PROM, EPROM, and EEPROM, floppy disks, compact disks, optical disks, magnetic tape, etc.). In some implementations, the storage media may be encoded with one or more programs that, when executed on one or more processors and/or controllers, perform at least some of the functions discussed herein. Various storage media may be fixed within a processor or controller or may be transportable, such that the one or more programs stored thereon can be loaded into a processor or controller so as to implement various aspects of the present invention discussed herein.
In embodiments the data storage facility 3700 stores information relating to control of a lighting unit 102. For example, the data storage facility may be memory employed to store one or more lighting programs for execution by the processor 3600 (e.g., to generate one or more control signals for the light sources), as well as various types of data useful for generating variable color radiation (e.g., calibration information, information relating to techniques for driving light sources 300, information relating to addresses for lighting units 102, information relating to effects run on lighting units 102, and may other purposes as discussed further herein). The memory also may store one or more particular identifiers (e.g., a serial number, an address, etc.) that may be used either locally or on a system level to identify the lighting unit 102. In various embodiments, such identifiers may be pre-programmed by a manufacturer or alterable by the manufacturer, for example, and may be either alterable or non-alterable thereafter (e.g., via some type of user interface located on the lighting unit, via one or more data or control signals received by the lighting unit, etc.). Alternatively, such identifiers may be determined at the time of initial use of the lighting unit in the field, and again may be alterable or non-alterable thereafter. The data storage facility 3700 may also be a disk, diskette, compact disk, random access memory, read only memory, SRAM, DRAM, database, data mart, data repository, cache, queue, or other facility for storing data, such as control instructions for a control facility 3500 for a lighting unit 102. Data storage may occur locally with the lighting unit, in a socket or housing 800, or remotely, such as on a server or in a remote database. In embodiments the data storage facility 3700 comprises a player that stores shows that can be triggered through a simple interface.
The drive facility 3800 may include drive hardware 3802 for driving one or more light sources 300. In embodiments the drive hardware 3802 comprises a current sink, such as a switch 3900, such as for turning on the current to a light source 300. In embodiments the switch 3900 is under control of the processor 3600, so that the switch 3900 can turn on or off in response to control signals. In embodiments the switch turns on and off in rapid pulses, such as in pulse width modulation of the current to the LEDs, which results in changes in the apparent intensity of the LED, based on the percentage of the duty cycle of the pulse width modulation technique during which the switch is turned on.
The drive hardware 3802 may include a voltage regulator 4000 for controlling voltage to a light source, such as to vary the intensity of the light coming from the light source 300.
The drive hardware 3802 may include a feed-forward drive circuit 4100 such as described in the patent applications incorporated herein by reference.
The drive hardware 3802 may include an inductive loop drive circuit 4200 such as in the patent applications incorporated herein by reference.
Various embodiments of the present invention are directed generally to methods and apparatus for providing and controlling power to at least some types of loads, wherein overall power efficiency typically is improved and functional redundancy of components is significantly reduced as compared to conventional arrangements. In different aspects, implementations of methods and apparatus according to various embodiments of the invention generally involve significantly streamlined circuits having fewer components, higher overall power efficiencies, and smaller space requirements.
In some embodiments, a controlled predetermined power is provided to a load without requiring any feedback information from the load (i.e., without monitoring load voltage and/or current). Furthermore, in one aspect of these embodiments, no regulation of load voltage and/or load current is required. In another aspect of such embodiments in which feedback is not required, isolation components typically employed between a DC output voltage of a DC-DC converter (e.g., the load supply voltage) and a source of power derived from an AC line voltage (e.g., a high DC voltage input to the DC-DC converter) in some cases may be eliminated, thereby reducing the number of required circuit components. In yet another aspect, eliminating the need for a feedback loop generally increases circuit speed and avoids potentially challenging issues relating to feedback circuit stability.
Based on the foregoing concepts, one embodiment of the present invention is directed to a “feed-forward” driver for an LED-based light source. Such a feed-forward driver combines the functionality of a DC-DC converter and a light source controller, and is configured to control the intensity of light generated by the light source based on modulating the average power delivered to the light source in a given time period, without monitoring or regulating the voltage or current provided to the light source. In one aspect of this embodiment, the feed-forward driver is configured to store energy to and release energy from an energy transfer device using a “discontinuous mode” switching operation. This type of switching operation facilitates the transfer of a predictable quantum of energy per switching cycle, and hence a predictable controlled power delivery to the light source.
In embodiments the drive hardware 3802 includes at least one energy transfer element to store input energy based on an applied input voltage and to provide output energy to a load at an output voltage. The drive hardware 3802 may include at least one switch coupled to the at least one energy transfer element to control at least the input energy stored to the at least one energy transfer element and at least one switch controller configured to control the at least one switch, wherein the at least one switch controller does not receive any feedback information relating to the load to control the at least one switch.
As shown in
Lighting systems in accordance with this specification can operate light sources 300 such as LEDs in an efficient manner. Typical LED performance characteristics depend on the amount of current drawn by the LED. The optimal efficacy may be obtained at a lower current than the level where maximum brightness occurs. LEDs are typically driven well above their most efficient operating current to increase the brightness delivered by the LED while maintaining a reasonable life expectancy. As a result, increased efficacy can be provided when the maximum current value of the PWM signal may be variable. For example, if the desired light output is less than the maximum required output the current maximum and/or the PWM signal width may be reduced. This may result in pulse amplitude modulation (PAM), for example; however, the width and amplitude of the current used to drive the LED may be varied to optimize the LED performance. In an embodiment, a lighting system may also be adapted to provide only amplitude control of the current through the LED. While many of the embodiments provided herein describe the use of PWM and PAM to drive the LEDs, one skilled in the art would appreciate that there are many techniques to accomplish the LED control described herein and, as such, the scope of the present invention is not limited by any one control technique. In embodiments, it is possible to use other techniques, such as pulse frequency modulation (PFM), or pulse displacement modulation (PDM), such as in combination with either or both of PWM and PAM.
Pulse width modulation (PWM) involves supplying a substantially constant current to the LEDs for particular periods of time. The shorter the time, or pulse-width, the less brightness an observer will observe in the resulting light. The human eye integrates the light it receives over a period of time and, even though the current through the LED may generate the same light level regardless of pulse duration, the eye will perceive short pulses as “dimmer” than longer pulses. The PWM technique is considered on of the preferred techniques for driving LEDs, although the present invention is not limited to such control techniques. When two or more colored LEDs are provided in a lighting system, the colors may be mixed and many variations of colors can be generated by changing the intensity, or perceived intensity, of the LEDs. In an embodiment, three colors of LEDs are presented (e.g., red, green and blue) and each of the colors is driven with PWM to vary its apparent intensity. This system allows for the generation of millions of colors (e.g., 16.7 million colors when 8-bit control is used on each of the PWM channels).
In an embodiment the LEDs are modulated with PWM as well as modulating the amplitude of the current driving the LEDs (Pulse Amplitude Modulation, or PAM). LED efficiency as a function of the input current increases to a maximum followed by decreasing efficiency. Typically, LEDs are driven at a current level beyond maximum efficiency to attain greater brightness while maintaining acceptable life expectancy. The objective is typically to maximize the light output from the LED while maintaining an acceptable lifetime. In an embodiment, the LEDs may be driven with a lower current maximum when lower intensities are desired. PWM may still be used, but the maximum current intensity may also be varied depending on the desired light output. For example, to decrease the intensity of the light output from a maximum operational point, the amplitude of the current may be decreased until the maximum efficiency is achieved. If further reductions in the LED brightness are desired the PWM activation may be reduced to reduce the apparent brightness.
One issue that may arise in connection with controlling multiple light sources 300 in the lighting unit 102, and controlling multiple lighting units 102 in a lighting system relates to potentially perceptible differences in light output between substantially similar light sources. For example, given two virtually identical light sources being driven by respective identical control signals, the actual intensity of light output by each light source may be perceptibly different. Such a difference in light output may be attributed to various factors including, for example, slight manufacturing differences between the light sources, normal wear and tear over time of the light sources that may differently alter the respective spectrums of the generated radiation, etc. For purposes of the present discussion, light sources for which a particular relationship between a control signal and resulting intensity are not known are referred to as “uncalibrated” light sources.
The use of one or more uncalibrated light sources in the lighting unit 102 may result in generation of light having an unpredictable, or “uncalibrated,” color or color temperature. For example, consider a first lighting unit including a first uncalibrated red light source and a first uncalibrated blue light source, each controlled by a corresponding control signal having an adjustable parameter in a range of from zero to 255 (0-255). For purposes of this example, if the red control signal is set to zero, blue light is generated, whereas if the blue control signal is set to zero, red light is generated. However, if both control signals are varied from non-zero values, a variety of perceptibly different colors may be produced (e.g., in this example, at very least, many different shades of purple are possible). In particular, perhaps a particular desired color (e.g., lavender) is given by a red control signal having a value of 125 and a blue control signal having a value of 200.
Now consider a second lighting unit including a second uncalibrated red light source substantially similar to the first uncalibrated red light source of the first lighting unit, and a second uncalibrated blue light source substantially similar to the first uncalibrated blue light source of the first lighting unit. As discussed above, even if both of the uncalibrated red light sources are driven by respective identical control signals, the actual intensity of light output by each red light source may be perceptibly different. Similarly, even if both of the uncalibrated blue light sources are driven by respective identical control signals, the actual intensity of light output by each blue light source may be perceptibly different.
With the foregoing in mind, it should be appreciated that if multiple uncalibrated light sources are used in combination in lighting units to produce a mixed colored light as discussed above, the observed color (or color temperature) of light produced by different lighting units under identical control conditions may be perceivably different. Specifically, consider again the “lavender” example above; the “first lavender” produced by the first lighting unit with a red control signal of 125 and a blue control signal of 200 indeed may be perceptibly different than a “second lavender” produced by the second lighting unit with a red control signal of 125 and a blue control signal of 200. More generally, the first and second lighting units generate uncalibrated colors by virtue of their uncalibrated light sources.
In view of the foregoing, in one embodiment of the present invention, the lighting unit 102 includes a calibration facility to facilitate the generation of light having a calibrated (e.g., predictable, reproducible) color at any given time. In one aspect, the calibration facility is configured to adjust the light output of at least some light sources of the lighting unit so as to compensate for perceptible differences between similar light sources used in different lighting units.
For example, in one embodiment, the processor 3600 of the lighting unit 102 is configured to control one or more of the light sources 300 so as to output radiation at a calibrated intensity that substantially corresponds in a predetermined manner to a control signal for the light source(s). As a result of mixing radiation having different spectra and respective calibrated intensities, a calibrated color is produced. In one aspect of this embodiment, at least one calibration value for each light source is stored in the data facility 3700, and the processor 3600 is programmed to apply the respective calibration values to the control signals for the corresponding light sources so as to generate the calibrated intensities.
In one aspect of this embodiment, one or more calibration values may be determined once (e.g., during a lighting unit manufacturing/testing phase) and stored in memory 3700 for use by the processor 3600. In another aspect, the processor 3600 may be configured to derive one or more calibration values dynamically (e.g. from time to time) with the aid of one or more photosensors, for example. In various embodiments, the photosensor(s) may be one or more external components coupled to the lighting unit, or alternatively may be integrated as part of the lighting unit itself. A photosensor is one example of a signal source that may be integrated or otherwise associated with the lighting unit 102, and monitored by the processor 3600 in connection with the operation of the lighting unit. Other examples of such signal sources are discussed further below, in connection with the signal source 8400.
One exemplary method that may be implemented by the processor 3600 to derive one or more calibration values includes applying a reference control signal to a light source, and measuring (e.g., via one or more photosensors) an intensity of radiation thus generated by the light source. The processor may be programmed to then make a comparison of the measured intensity and at least one reference value (e.g., representing an intensity that nominally would be expected in response to the reference control signal). Based on such a comparison, the processor may determine one or more calibration values for the light source. In particular, the processor may derive a calibration value such that, when applied to the reference control signal, the light source outputs radiation having an intensity that corresponds to the reference value (i.e., the “expected” intensity).
In various aspects, one calibration value may be derived for an entire range of control signal/output intensities for a given light source. Alternatively, multiple calibration values may be derived for a given light source (i.e., a number of calibration value “samples” may be obtained) that are respectively applied over different control signal/output intensity ranges, to approximate a nonlinear calibration function in a piecewise linear manner.
In conventional LED-based light systems, constant current control is often preferred because of lifetime issues. Too much current can destroy an LED or curtail useful life. Too little current produces little light and is an inefficient or ineffective use of the LED.
The light output from a semiconductor illuminator may shift in wavelength as a result in changes in current. In general, the shift in output has been thought to be undesirable for most applications, since a stable light color is often preferred to an unstable one. Recent developments in LED light sources with higher power ratings (>100 mA) have made it possible to operate LED systems effectively without supplying maximum current. Such operational ranges make it possible to provide LED-based lighting units 102 that have varying wavelength outputs as a function of current. Thus, different wavelengths of light can be provided by changing the current supplied to the LEDs to produce broader bandwidth colors (potentially covering an area, rather than just a point, in the chromaticity diagram of
In the visible spectrum, roughly 400 to 700 nm, the sensitivity of the eye varies according to wavelength. The sensitivity of the eye is least at the edges of that range and peaks at around 555 nm in the middle of the green.
Controlled spectral shifting can also be used to adjust for differences between light sources 300, such as differences between individual light sources 300 from the same vendor, or different lots, or “bins,” of light sources 300 from different vendors, such as to produce lighting units 102 that produce consistent color and intensity from unit to unit, notwithstanding the use of different kinds of light sources 300 in the respective lighting units 102.
Current control can be provided with various embodiments, including feedback loops, such as using a light sensor as a signal source 8400, or a lookup table or similar facility that stores light wavelength and intensity output as a function of various combinations of pulse-width modulation and pulse amplitude modulation.
In embodiments, a lighting system can produce saturated colors for one purpose (entertainment, mood, effects), while for another purpose it can produce a good quality variable white light whose color temperature can be varied along with the spectral properties. Thus a single fixture can have narrow bandwidth light sources for multicolor light applications and then can change to a current and PWM control mode to get broad spectra to make good white light or non-white light with broader spectrum color characteristics. In addition, the control mode can be combined with various optical facilities 400 described above to further control the light output from the system. In embodiments, the methods and systems can include a control loop and fast current sources to allow an operator to sweep about a broad spectrum. This could be done in a feed-forward system or with feedback to insure proper operation over a variety of conditions.
The control facility 3500 can switch between a current-control mode 2502 (which itself could be controlled by a PWM stream) and a separate PWM mode 2504. Such a system can include simultaneous current control via PWM for wavelength and PWM control balanced to produce desired output intensity and color.
It may even be desirable to overdrive the LEDs. Although the currents would be above nominal operating parameters as described by the LED manufacturers, this can provide more light than normally feasible. The power source will also be drained faster, but the result can be a much brighter light source.
Modulation of lighting units 102 can include a data facility 3700, such as a look-up table, that determines the current delivered to light sources 300 based on predetermined values stored in the data facility 3700 based on inputs, which may include inputs from signal sources 8400, sensors, or the like.
It is also possible to drive light sources 300 with constant current, such as to produce a single color of light.
The methods and systems disclosed herein also include a variety of methods and systems for light control, including central control facilities 3500 as well as control facilities that are local to lighting units 102. One grouping of control facilities 3500 includes dimmer controls, including both wired and wireless dimmer control. Traditional dimmers can be used with lighting units 102, not just in the traditional way using voltage control or resistive load, but rather by using a processor to scale and control output by interpreting the levels of voltage. In combination with a style and interface that is familiar to most people because of the ubiquity of dimmer switches, one aspect of the present specification allows the position of a dimmer switch (linear or rotary) to indicate color temperature or intensity through a power cycle control. That is, the mode can change with each on or off cycle. A special switch can allow multiple modes without having to turn off the lights. An example of a product that uses this technique is the Color Dial, available from Color Kinetics as depicted in
The photopic response of the human eye varies across different colors for a given intensity of light radiation. For example, the human eye may tend to respond more effectively to green light than to blue light of the same intensity. As a result, a lighting unit 102 may seem dimmer if turned on blue than the same lighting unit 102 seems when turned on green. However, in installations of multiple lighting units 102, users may desire that different lighting units 102 have similar intensities when turned on, rather than having some lighting units 102 appear dim while others appear bright. A program can be stored on a data storage facility 3700 for use by the processor 3600 to adjust the pulses of current delivered to the light sources 300 (and in turn the apparent intensity of the light sources) based on the predicted photopic response of the human eye to the color of light that is called for by the processor 3600 at any given time. A lookup table or similar facility can associate each color with a particular intensity scale, so that each color can be scaled relative to all others in apparent intensity. The result is that lighting units 102 can be caused to deliver light output along isoluminance curves (similar to topographic lines on a map) throughout the gamut 2614, where each curve represents a common level of apparent light output of the lighting unit 102. The program can account for the particular spectral output characteristics of the types of light sources 300 that make up a particular type of lighting unit 102 and can account for differences in the light sources 300 between different lighting units 102, so that lighting units 102 using different light sources 300, such as from different vendors, can nevertheless provide light output of consistent intensity at any given color.
A control interface 4900 may be provided for a lighting unit 102. The interface can vary in complexity, ranging from having minimal control, such as “on-off” control and dimming, to much more extensive control, such as producing elaborate shows and effects using a graphical user interface for authoring them and using network systems to deliver the shows and effects to lighting units 102 deployed in complex geometries.
The light system manager 5000, mapping facility 5002, light system composer 5004 and light system engine 5008 may be provided through a combination of computer hardware, telecommunications hardware and computer software components. The different components may be provided on a single computer system or distributed among separate computer systems.
Referring still to
Thus, methods and systems provided herein include providing a light system engine for relaying control signals to a plurality of light systems, wherein the light system engine plays back shows. The light system engine 5008 may include a processor, a data facility, an operating system and a communication facility. The light system engine 5008 may be configured to communicate with a DALI or DMX lighting control facility. In embodiments, the light system engine communicates with a lighting control facility that operates with a serial communication protocol. In embodiments the lighting control facility is a power/data supply for a lighting unit 102.
In embodiments, the light system engine 5008 executes lighting shows downloaded from the light system composer 5004. In embodiments the shows are delivered as XML files from the light system composer 5004 to the light system engine 5008. In embodiment the shows are delivered to the light system engine over a network. In embodiments the shows are delivered over an Ethernet facility. In embodiments the shows are delivered over a wireless facility. In embodiments the shows are delivered over a Firewire facility. In embodiments shows are delivered over the Internet.
In embodiments lighting shows composed by the light system composer 5004 can be combined with other files from another computer system, such as one that includes an XML parser that parses an XML document output by the light system composer 5004 along with XML elements relevant to the other computer. In embodiments lighting shows are combined by adding additional elements to an XML file that contains a lighting show. In embodiments the other computer system comprises a browser and the user of the browser can edit the XML file using the browser to edit the lighting show generated by the lighting show composer. In embodiments the light system engine 5008 includes a server, wherein the server is capable of receiving data over the Internet. In embodiments the light system engine 5008 is capable of handling multiple zones of light systems, wherein each zone of light systems has a distinct mapping. In embodiments the multiple zones are synchronized using the internal clock of the light system engine 5008.
The methods and systems included herein include methods and systems for providing a mapping facility 5002 of the light system manager 5000 for mapping locations of a plurality of light systems. In embodiments, the mapping system discovers lighting systems in an environment, using techniques described above. In embodiments, the mapping facility then maps light systems in a two-dimensional space, such as using a graphical user interface.
In embodiments of the invention, the light system engine 5008 comprises a personal computer with a Linux operating system. In embodiments the light system engine is associated with a bridge to a DMX or DALI system.
A light system 100 may include a network interface 4902 for delivering data from a control facility 3500 to one or more light systems 100, which may include one or more lighting units 102. The term “network” as used herein refers to any interconnection of two or more devices (including controllers or processors) that facilitates the transport of information (e.g. for device control, data storage, data exchange, etc.) between any two or more devices and/or among multiple devices coupled to the network. As should be readily appreciated, various implementations of networks suitable for interconnecting multiple devices may include any of a variety of network topologies and employ any of a variety of communication protocols. Additionally, in various networks according to the present invention, any one connection between two devices may represent a dedicated connection between the two systems, or alternatively a non-dedicated connection. In addition to carrying information intended for the two devices, such a non-dedicated connection may carry information not necessarily intended for either of the two devices (e.g., an open network connection). Furthermore, it should be readily appreciated that various networks of devices as discussed herein may employ one or more wireless, wire/cable, and/or fiber optic links to facilitate information transport throughout the network.
The networked lighting system 100 may be configured flexibly to include one or more user interfaces 4908, as well as one or more signal sources 8400 such as sensors/transducers 8402. For example, one or more user interfaces and/or one or more signal sources such as sensors/transducers 8402 (as discussed above in connection with
The lighting system 100 may include one or more lighting unit controllers (LUCs) 3500 a, 3500 b, 3500 c, 3500 d for lighting units 102, wherein each LUC is responsible for communicating with and generally controlling one or more lighting units 102 coupled to it. Different numbers of lighting units 102 may be coupled to a given LUC in a variety of different configurations using a variety of different communication media and protocols.
Each LUC in turn may be coupled to a central control facility 3500 that is configured to communicate with one or more LUCs. Although
For example, according to one embodiment of the present invention, the central controller 3500 shown in
More specifically, according to one embodiment, the LUCs 3500 a, 3500 b, 3500 c and 3500 d shown in
It should again be appreciated that the foregoing example of using multiple different communication implementations (e.g., Ethemet/DMX) in a lighting system according to one embodiment of the present invention is for purposes of illustration only, and that the invention is not limited to this particular example.
In embodiments the central controller 3500 may be a network controller that controls other functions, such as a home network, business enterprise network, building network, or other network.
In embodiments a switch, such as a wall switch, can include a processor 3600, memory 3700 and a communications port for receiving data. The switch can be linked to a network, such as an office network, Internet, or home network. Each switch can be an intelligent device that responds to communication signals via the communications port to provide control of any lighting units 102 from any location where another switch or intelligent device may be located. Such a switch can be integrated through smart interfaces and networks to trigger shows (such as using a lighting control player, such as iPlayer 2 available from Color Kinetics) as with a lighting controller such as a ColorDial from Color Kinetics. Thus, the switch can be programmed with light shows to create various aesthetic, utilitarian or entertainment effects, of white or non-white colors. In embodiments, an operator of a system can process, create or download shows, including from an external source such as the Internet. Shows can be sent to the switch over a communication facility of any kind. Various switches can be programmed to play back and control any given lighting unit 102. In embodiments, settings can be controlled through a network or other interface, such as a web interface.
A switch with a processor 3600 and memory 3700 can be used to enable upgradeable lighting units 102. Thus, lighting units 102 with different capabilities, shows, or features can be supplied, allowing users to upgrade to different capabilities, as with different versions of commercial software programs. Upgrade possibilities include firmware to add features, fix bugs, improve performance, change protocols, add capability and provide compatibility, among others.
In embodiments a control facility 3500 may be based on stored modes and a power cycle event. The operator can store modes for lighting control, such as on a memory 3700. The system can then look for a power event, such as turning the power on or off. When there is a power event the system changes mode. The mode can be a resting mode, with no signal to the lighting unit 102, or it can be any of a variety of different modes, such as a steady color change, a flashing mode, a fixed color mode, or modes of different intensity. Modes can include white and non-white illumination modes. The modes can be configured in a cycle, so that upon a mode change, the next stored mode is retrieved from memory 3700 and signals for that mode are delivered to the lighting unit 102, such as using a switch, slide, dial, or dimmer. The system can take an input signal, such as from the switch. Depending on the current mode, the input signal from the switch can be used to generate a different control signal. For example, if the mode is a steady color change, the input from the dimmer could accelerate of decelerate the rate of change. If the mode were a single color, then the dimmer signal could change the mode by increasing or decreasing the intensity of light. Of course, system could take multiple inputs from multiple switches, dials, dimmers, sliders or the like, to provide more modulation of the different modes. Finally, the modulated signal can be sent to the lighting unit 102.
In embodiments a system with stored modes can take input, such as from a signal source 8400, such as a sensor, a computer, or other signal source. The system can determine the mode, such as based on a cycle of modes, or by recalling modes from memory, including based on the nature of the signal from the signal source 8400. Then system can generate a control signal for a lighting unit, based on the mode.
Methods and system provided herein also include providing a self-healing lighting system, which may include providing a plurality of lighting units in a system, each having a plurality of light sources; providing at least one processor associated with at least some of the lighting units for controlling the lighting units; providing a network facility for addressing data to each of the lighting units; providing a diagnostic facility for identifying a problem with a lighting unit; and providing a healing facility for modifying the actions of at least one processor to automatically correct the problem identified by the diagnostic facility.
A lighting unit controller according to the present invention may include a unique address such that the 208 can be identified and communicated with. The LUC may also include a universe address such that the lighting unit controller can be grouped with other controllers or systems and addressed information can be communicated to the group of systems. The lighting unit controller may also have a broadcast address, or otherwise listen to general commands provided to many or all associated systems.
A lighting unit 102 may include a physical data interface 4904 for receiving data, such as from another lighting unit 102, from a signal source 8400, from a user interface 4902, or from a control facility 3500. Referring to
In embodiments the communication port 4904 can receive a data cable, such as a standard CAT 5 cable type used for networking. Thus, the lighting unit 102 can receive data, such as from a network. By allowing connection of the lighting unit 102 to a communications port 4904, the system allows a lighting designer or installer to send data to a plurality of lighting units 102 to put them in common modes of control and illumination, providing more consistency to the lighting of the overall environment.
In the preceding embodiments, a fixture or network can give a lighting unit 102 a command to set to a particular look including, color, color temperature, intensity, saturation, and spectral properties. Thus, when the designer sets the original design he or she may specify a set of particular light bulb parameters so that when a lighting unit 102 is replaced the fixture or network can perform a startup routine that initializes that lighting unit 102 to a particular set of values which are then controlled. In embodiments, the lighting unit 102 identifies itself to the network when the power is turned on. The lighting unit 102 or fixture or socket 3302 can be assigned an address by the central control facility 3500, via a network interface 4900. Thus, there is an address associated with the fixture or socket 3302, and the lighting unit 102 control corresponds to that address. The lighting unit 102 parameters can be set in memory 3700, residing in either the lighting unit 102, socket 3302 or fixture, cable termination 3304 or in a central control facility 3500. The lighting unit 102 can now be set to those parameters. From then on, when the lighting unit 102 is powered up it receives a simple command value already set within the set of parameters chosen by the designer.
As used herein, the terms “wired” transmission and or communication should be understood to encompass wire, cable, optical, or any other type of communication where the devices are physically connected. As used herein, the terms “wireless” transmission and or communication should be understood to encompass acoustical, RF, microwave, IR, and all other communication and or transmission systems were the devices are not physically connected.
A lighting unit 102 can respond to input from a user interface 4908. The term “user interface” as used herein refers to an interface between a human user or operator and one or more devices that enables communication between the user and the device(s). Examples of user interfaces that may be employed in various implementations of the present invention include, but are not limited to, switches, human-machine interfaces, operator interfaces, potentiometers, buttons, dials, sliders, a mouse, keyboard, keypad, various types of game controllers (e.g., joysticks), track balls, display screens, various types of graphical user interfaces (GUIs), touch screens, microphones and other types of sensors that may receive some form of human-generated stimulus and generate a signal in response thereto.
In another aspect, as also shown in
In one implementation, the processor 3600 of the lighting unit monitors the user interface 4908 and controls one or more of the light sources 300 based at least in part on a user's operation of the interface. For example, the processor 3600 may be configured to respond to operation of the user interface by originating one or more control signals for controlling one or more of the light sources. Alternatively, the processor 3600 may be configured to respond by selecting one or more pre-programmed control signals stored in memory, modifying control signals generated by executing a lighting program, selecting and executing a new lighting program from memory, or otherwise affecting the radiation generated by one or more of the light sources.
In particular, in one implementation, the user interface 4908 may constitute one or more switches (e.g., a standard wall switch) that interrupt power to the processor 3600. In one aspect of this implementation, the processor 3600 is configured to monitor the power as controlled by the user interface, and in turn control one or more of the light sources 300 based at least in part on a duration of a power interruption caused by operation of the user interface. As discussed above, the processor may be particularly configured to respond to a predetermined duration of a power interruption by, for example, selecting one or more pre-programmed control signals stored in memory, modifying control signals generated by executing a lighting program, selecting and executing a new lighting program from memory, or otherwise affecting the radiation generated by one or more of the light sources.
In various embodiments the slides, switches, dials, dipswitches and the like can be used to control a wide range of variables, such as color, color temperature, intensity, hue, and triggering of lighting shows of varying attributes.
In other embodiments of the present invention it may be desirable to limit user control. Lighting designers, interior decorators and architects often prefer to create a certain look to their environment and wish to have it remain that way over time. Unfortunately, over time, the maintenance of an environment, which includes light bulb replacement, often means that a lighting unit, such as a bulb, is selected whose properties differ from the original design. This may include differing wattages, color temperatures, spectral properties, or other characteristics. It is desirable to have facilities for improving the designer's control over future lighting of an environment.
In embodiments, the fixture, socket 3302 or lighting unit 102 can command color setting at installation, either a new setting or a fine adjustment to provide precise color control. In embodiments, the lighting unit 102 allows color temperature control as described elsewhere. The lighting unit 102 is settable, but the fixture itself stores an instruction or value for the setting of a particular color temperature or color. Since the fixture is set, the designer or architect can insure that all settable lighting units 102 will be set correctly when they are installed or replaced. An addressable fixture can be accomplished through a cable connection where the distal end of the cable, at the fixture, has a value programmed or set. The value is set through storage in memory 3700 or over the power lines. A physical connection can be made with a small handheld device, such as a Zapi available from Color Kinetics, to create and set the set of parameters for that fixture and others. If the environment changes over time, as for example during a remodeling, then those values can be updated and changed to reflect a new look for the environment. A person could either go from fixture to fixture to reset those values or change those parameters remotely to set an entire installation quickly. Once the area is remodeled or repainted, as in the lobby of a hotel for example, the color temperature or color can be reset and, for example, have all lighting units 102 in the lobby set to white light of 3500K. Then, in the future, is any lighting unit 102 is replaced or upgraded, any bulb plugged in can be set to that new value. Changes to the installation parameters can be done in various ways, such as by network commands, or wireless communication, such as RF or IR communication.
In various embodiments, the setting can occur in the fixture or socket 3302, in the distal end of a cable 3304, in the proximal end of the cable 3304, or in a central control facility 3500. The setting can be a piece of memory 3700 embedded in any of those elements with a facility for reading out the data upon startup of the lighting unit 102.
In other embodiments it may be desirable to prevent or deter user adjustment. A lighting unit 102 can be programmed to allow adjustment and changes to parameters by a lighting designer or installer, but not by other users. Such systems can incorporate a lockout facility to prevent others from easily changing the settings. This can take the form of memory 3700 to store the current state but allow only a password-enabled user to make changes. One embodiment is a lighting unit 102 that is connected to a network or to a device that allows access to the lighting unit 102 or network. The device can be an authorized device whose initial communication establishes trust between two devices or between the device and network. This device can, once having established the connection, allow for the selection or modification of pattern, color, effect or relationship between other devices such as ambient sensors or external devices. The system can store modes, such as in memory 3700. The system can detect a user event, such as an attempt by the user to change modes, such as sending an instruction over a network or wireless device. The system queries whether the user is authorized to change the mode of the lighting unit 102, such as by asking for a password, searching for a stored password, or checking a device identifier for the device through which the user is seeking to change the mode of the lighting unit 102. If the user is not authorized, then the system maintains the previous mode and optionally notifies the lighting designer, installer, or other individual of the unauthorized attempt to change the mode. If the user is authorized, then the user is allowed to change the mode. Facilities for allowing only authorized users to trigger events are widely known in the arts of computer programming, and any such facilities can be used with a processor 3600 and memory 3700 used with a lighting unit 102.
In other embodiments, the lighting designer can specify changes in color over time or based on time of day or season of year. It is beneficial for a lighting unit 102 to measure the amount of time that it has been on and store information in a compact form as to its lighting history. This provides a useful history of the use of the light and can be correlated to use lifetime and power draw, among other measurements. An intelligent networked lighting unit 102 can store a wide variety of useful information about its own state over time and the environmental state of its surroundings. A lighting unit can store a histogram, a chart representing value and time of lighting over time. The histogram can be stored in memory 3700. A histogram can chart on time versus off time for a lighting unit 102. A histogram can be correlated to other data, such as room habitation, to develop models of patterns of use, which can then be tied into a central control facility 3500, such as integrated with a building control system.
In embodiments a user interface 4908 instructs a lighting system 100 to produce a desired mixed light output. The user interface can be a remote control, a network interface, a dipswitch, a computer, such as a laptop computer, a personal computer, a network computer, or a personal digital assistant, an interface for programming an on-board memory of the illumination system, a wireless interface, a digital facility, a remote control, a receiver, a transceiver, a network interface, a personal computer, a handheld computer, a push button, a dial, a toggle/membrane switch, an actuator that actuates when one part of a housing is rotated relative to another, a motion sensor, an insulating strip that is removed to allow power to a unit, an electrical charge to turn a unit on, or a magnetic interface such as a small reed-relay or Hall-effect sensor that can be incorporated so when a magnetic material is brought within the proximity of the device it completes a power circuit.
In embodiments a keypad 3650 may be used to store control signals for lighting shows. Buttons 3652 on the keypad 3650 may be used to trigger stored shows, such as to be delivered directly to lighting units 102 or to deliver them across a network, such as in the Ethernet configuration of
In embodiments it may be important to provide an addressing facility 6600 for providing an address to a lighting unit 102 or light system 100. An address permits a particular lighting unit 102 to be identified among a group of lighting units 102 or a group of lighting units 102 to be identified among a larger group, or a group of other devices deployed on a common network. An address in turn permits use of the mapping facility 5002 for mapping locations of lighting units 102 according to their unique identifiers or addresses. Once locations are mapped, it is possible to deliver control signals to the lighting units 102 in desired sequences to create complex effects, such as color-chasing rainbows, or the like, based on their correct locations in the world.
The term “addressable” is used herein to include a device (e.g., a light source in general, a lighting unit or fixture, a controller or processor associated with one or more light sources or lighting units, other non-lighting related devices, etc.) that is configured to receive information (e.g., data) intended for multiple devices, including itself, and to selectively respond to particular information intended for it. The term “addressable” often is used in connection with a networked environment (or a “network,” discussed further below), in which multiple devices are coupled together via some communications medium or media.
In one implementation, one or more devices coupled to a network may serve as a controller for one or more other devices coupled to the network (e.g., in a master/slave relationship). In another implementation, a networked environment may include one or more dedicated controllers that are configured to control one or more of the devices coupled to the network. Generally, multiple devices coupled to the network each may have access to data that is present on the communications medium or media; however, a given device may be “addressable” in that it is configured to selectively exchange data with (i.e., receive data from and/or transmit data to) the network, based, for example, on one or more particular identifiers (e.g., “addresses”) assigned to it.
More specifically, one embodiment of the present invention is directed to a system of multiple controllable lighting units coupled together in any of a variety of configurations to form a networked lighting system. In one aspect of this embodiment, each lighting unit has one or more unique identifiers (e.g., a serial number, a network address, etc.) that may be pre-programmed at the time of manufacture and/or installation of the lighting unit, wherein the identifiers facilitate the communication of information between respective lighting units and one or more lighting system controllers. In another aspect of this embodiment, each lighting unit 102 may be flexibly deployed in a variety of physical configurations with respect to other lighting units of the system, depending on the needs of a given installation.
One issue that may arise in such a system of multiple controllable lighting units 102 is that upon deployment of the lighting units 102 for a given installation, it is in some cases challenging to configure one or more system controllers a priori with some type of mapping information that provides a relationship between the identifier for each lighting unit 102 and its physical location relative to other lighting units 102 in the system. In particular, a lighting system designer/installer may desire to purchase a number of individual lighting units each pre-programmed with a unique identifier (e.g., serial number), and then flexibly deploy and interconnect the lighting units in any of a variety of configurations to implement a networked lighting system. At some point before operation, however, the system needs to know the identifiers of the controllable lighting units deployed, and preferably their physical location relative to other units in the system, so that each unit may be appropriately controlled to realize system-wide lighting effects.
In view of the foregoing, one embodiment of the invention is directed to methods and systems that facilitate a determination of the respective identifiers of controllable lighting units coupled together to form a networked lighting system. In one aspect of this embodiment, each lighting unit of the system has a pre-programmed multiple-bit binary identifier, and a determination algorithm is implemented to iteratively determine (i.e., “learn”) the identifiers of all lighting units that make up the system. In various aspects, such determination/learning algorithms may employ a variety of detection schemes during the identifier determination process, including, but not limited to, monitoring a power drawn by lighting units at particular points of the process, and/or monitoring an illumination state of one or more lighting units at particular points of the determination process.
Once the collection of identifiers for all lighting units of the system is determined (or manually entered), another embodiment of the present invention is directed to facilitating the compilation of mapping information that relates the identified lighting units 102 to their relative physical locations in the installation. In various aspects of this embodiment, the mapping information compilation process may be facilitated by one or more graphical user interfaces that enable a system operator and/or programmer to conveniently configure the system based on either learned and/or manually entered identifiers of the lighting units, as well as one or more graphic representations of the physical layout of the lighting units relative to one another.
In an embodiment, identifiers for lighting units 102 can be determined by a series of steps. First, a set of lighting units 102 having unique identifiers stored in memory 3700 are provided. Next, address identification information is provided to the lighting units. Next, the lighting unit 102 is caused to read the address identification information, compare the address identification information to at least a portion of the identifier, and cause the lighting unit 102 to respond to the address identification information by either energizing or de-energizing one or more light sources of the lighting unit 102. Finally, the system monitors the power consumed by the lighting unit to provide an indication of the comparison between the identifier and the address identification information.
In embodiments each lighting unit controller includes a power sensing module that provides one or more indications to the LUC when power is being drawn by one or more lighting units coupled to the LUC (i.e., when one or more light sources of one or more of the lighting units is energized). The power-sensing module also may provide one or more output signals to the processor 3600, and the processor 3600 in turn may communicate to the central control facility 3500 information relating to power sensing.
The power sensing module, together with the processor 3600, may be adapted to determine merely when any power is being consumed by any of the lighting units coupled to the LUC, without necessarily determining the actual power being drawn or the actual number of units drawing power. As discussed further below, such a “binary” determination of power either being consumed or not consumed by the collection of lighting units 102 coupled to the LUC facilitates an identifier determination/learning algorithm (e.g., that may be performed by the LUC processor 3600 or the central control facility 3500) according to one embodiment of the invention. In other aspects, the power sensing module and the processor 3600 may be adapted to determine, at least approximately, and actual power drawn by the lighting units at any given time. If the average power consumed by a single lighting unit is known a priori, the number of units consuming power at any given time can then be derived from such an actual power measurement. Such a determination is useful in other embodiments of the invention, as discussed further below.
As discussed above, according to one embodiment of the invention, the LUC processor 3600 may monitor the output signal from the power sensing module to determine if any power is being drawn by the group of lighting units, and use this indication in an identifier determination/learning algorithm to determine the collection of identifiers of the group of lighting units coupled to the LUC. For purposes of illustrating the various concepts related to such an algorithm, the following discussion assumes an example of a unique four bit binary identifier for each of the lighting units coupled to a given LUC. It should be appreciated, however, that lighting unit identifiers according to the present invention are not limited to four bits, and that the following example is provided primarily for purposes of illustration.
In embodiments, the collection of identifiers corresponding to the respective units and the number of units are determined. However, it should be appreciated that no particular determination is made of which lighting unit has which identifier. Stated differently, the algorithm does not determine a one-to-one correspondence between identifiers and lighting units, but rather merely determines the collection of identifiers of all of the lighting units coupled to the LUC. According to one embodiment of the invention, such a determination is sufficient for purposes of subsequently compiling mapping information regarding the physical locations of the lighting units relative to one another.
One or both of a given LUC processor 3600 or the central control facility 3500 may be configured to execute the algorithm, and that either the processor 3600 or the central control facility 3500 may include memory 3700 to store a flag for each bit of the identifier, which flag may be set and reset at various points during the execution of the algorithm, as discussed further below. Furthermore, for purposes of explaining the algorithm, it is to be understood that the “first bit” of an identifier refers to the highest order binary bit of the identifier. In particular, with reference to the example of
Referring again to the exemplary identifiers and binary tree illustrated in
As a result of a “1” in the highest order bit having been identified, the algorithm adds another bit 3808 with the same state (i.e., “1”), and then sends a global command to all of the lighting units to energize their light sources if their respective identifiers begin with “11” (i.e., 11XX). As a result of this query, the first and second lighting units energize their light sources and draw power, but the third lighting unit does not energize. In any event, some power is drawn, so the algorithm then queries if there are any more bits in the identifier. In the present example there are more bits, so the algorithm returns to adding another bit 3810 with the same state as the previous bit and then sends a global command to all lighting units to energize their light sources if their respective identifiers begin with “111” (i.e., 111X).
At this point in the example, no identifiers correspond to this query, and hence no power is drawn from the LUC. Accordingly, the algorithm sets a flag for this third bit 3810, changes the state of the bit (now to a “0”), and again queries if there are any more bits in the identifier. In the present example there are more bits, so the algorithm returns to adding another bit 3812 with the same state as the previous bit (i.e., another “0”) and then sends a global command to all lighting units to energize their light sources if they have the identifier “1100.”
In response to this query, the second lighting unit energizes its light sources and hence power is drawn from the LUC. Since there are no more bits in the identifiers, the algorithm has thus learned a first of the three identifiers, namely, the second identifier 3802B of “1100.” At this point, the algorithm checks to see if a flag for the fourth bit 3812 has been set. Since no flag yet has been set for this bit, the algorithm changes the bit state (now to a “1”), and sends a global command to all lighting units to energize their light sources if they have the identifier “1101.” In the present example, the first lighting unit energizes its light sources and draws power, indicating that yet another identifier has been learned by the algorithm, namely, the first identifier 3802A of “1101.”
At this point, the algorithm goes back one bit in the identifier (in the present example, this is the third bit 3810) and checks to see if a flag was set for this bit. As pointed out above, indeed the flag for the third bit was set (i.e., no identifiers corresponded to “111X”). The algorithm then checks to see if it has arrived back at the first (highest order) bit 3804 again, and if not, goes back yet another bit (to the second bit 3808). Since no flag has yet been set for this bit (it is currently a “1”), the algorithm changes the state of the second bit (i.e., to a “0” in the present example), and sends a global command to all lighting units to energize their light sources if their respective identifiers begin with “10” (i.e., 10XX). In the current example, the third lighting unit energizes its light sources, and hence power is drawn. Accordingly, the algorithm then sets the flag for this second bit, clears any lower order flags that may have been previously set (e.g., for the third or fourth bits 3810 and 3812), and returns to adding another bit 3810 with the same state as the previous bit. From this point, the algorithm executes as described above until ultimately it learns the identifier 1402C of the third lighting unit (i.e., 1011), and determines that no other lighting units are coupled to the LUC.
Again, it should be appreciated that although an example of four bit identifiers was used for purposes of illustration, the algorithm may be applied similarly to determine identifiers having an arbitrary number of bits. Furthermore, it should be appreciated that this is merely one example of an identifier determination/learning algorithm, and that other methods for determining/learning identifiers may be implemented according to other embodiments of the invention.
The method may involve the controlling of light from a plurality of lighting units that are capable of being supplied with addresses (identifiers). The method may comprise the steps of equipping each of the lighting units with a processing facility for reading data and providing instructions to the lighting units to control at least one of the color and the intensity of the lighting units, each processing facility capable of being supplied with an address. For example, the lighting units may include a lighting unit 102 where the processor 3600 is capable of receiving network data. The processor may receive network data and operate the LED(s) 300 in a manner consistent with the received data. The processor may read data that is explicitly or implicitly addressed to it or it may respond to all of the data supplied to it. The network commands may be specifically targeting a particular lighting unit with an address or group of lighting units with similar addresses or the network data may be communicated to all network devices. A communication to all network devices may not be addressed but may be a universe or world style command.
The method may further comprise the step of supplying each processor with an identifier, the identifier being formed of a plurality of bits of data. For example, each lighting unit 102 may be associated with memory 3700 (e.g. EPROM) and the memory 3700 may contain a serial number that is unique to the light or processor. Of course, the setting of the serial number or other identifier may be set through mechanical switches or other devices and the present invention is not limited by a particular method of setting the identifier. The serial number may be a 32-bit number in EPROM for example.
The method may also comprise sending to a plurality of such processors an instruction, the instruction being associated with a selected and numbered bit of the plurality of bits of the identifier, the instruction causing the processor to select between an “on” state of illumination and an “off” state of illumination for light sources controlled by that processor, the selection being determined by the comparison between the instruction and the bit of the identifier corresponding to the number of the numbered bit of the instruction. For example, a network command may be sent to one or more lighting units in the network of lighting units. The command may be a global command such that all lighting units that receive the command respond. The network command may instruct the processors 102 to read the first bit of data associated with its serial number. The processor 3600 may then compare the first bit to the instructions in the network instruction or assess if the bit is a one or a zero. If the bit is a one, the processor may turn the lighting unit on or to a particular color or intensity. This provides a visual representation of the first bit of the serial number. A person or apparatus viewing the light would understand that the first bit in the serial number is either a one (e.g. light is on) or a zero (e.g. light is off). The next instruction sent to the light may be to read and indicate the setting of the second bit of the address. This process can be followed for each bit of the address allowing a person or apparatus to decipher the address by watching the light sources of the lighting unit turn on and/or off following each command.
After reducing ambient light at a step 4002, a camera may capture at a step 4006 a representation of which lights are turned on at a step 4004. The method may further comprise capturing a representation of which lighting units are illuminated and which lighting units are not illuminated for that instruction. For example, a camera, video or other image capture system may be used to capture the image of the lighting unit(s) following each such network command. Repeating the preceding two steps for all numbered bits of the identifier allows for the reconstruction of the serial number of each lighting unit in the network at an analysis step 4008. At a step 4012 the analysis is used to generate a table of mapping data for lighting units 102.
The method may further comprise assembling the identifier for each of the lighting units, based on the “on” or “off” state of each bit of the identifier as captured in the representation. For example, a person could view the lighting unit's states and record them to decipher the lighting unit's serial number or software can be written to allow the automatic reading of the images and the reassembly of the serial numbers from the images. The software may be used to compare the state of the lighting unit with the instruction to calculate the bit state of the address and then proceed to the next image to calculate the next bit state. The software may be adapted to calculate a plurality or all of the bit states of the associated lighting units in the image and then proceed to the next image to calculate the next bit state. This process could be used to calculate all of the serial numbers of the lighting units in the image.
The method may also comprise assembling a correspondence between the known identifiers (e.g. serial numbers) and the physical locations of the lighting units having the identifiers. For example, the captured image not only contains lighting unit state information but it also contains lighting unit position information. The positioning may be relative or absolute. For example, the lighting units may be mounted on the outside of a building and the image may show a particular lighting unit is below the third window from the right on the seventy second floor. This lighting unit's position may also be referenced to other lighting unit positions such that a map can be constructed which identifies all of the identifiers (e.g. serial numbers) with a lighting unit and its position. Once these positions and/or lighting units are identified, network commands can be directed to the particular lighting units by addressing the commands with the identifier and having the lighting unit respond to data that is addressed to its identifier. The method may further comprise controlling the illumination from the lighting units by sending instructions to the desired lighting units at desired physical locations. Another embodiment may involve sending the now identified lighting units address information such that the lighting units store the address information as its address and will respond to data sent to the address. This method may be useful when it is desired to address the lighting units in some sequential scheme in relation to the physical layout of the lighting units. For example, the user may want to have the addresses sequentially increase as the lighting fixtures go from left to right across the face of a building. This may make authoring of lighting sequences easier because the addresses are associated with position or progression.
Another aspect of the present invention relates to communicating with lighting units and altering their address information. In an embodiment, a lighting unit controller LUC may be associated with several lighting units and the controller may know the address information/identifiers for the lighting units associated with the controller. A user may want to know the relative position of one lighting unit as compared to another and may communicate with the controller to energize a lighting unit such that the user can identify its position within an installation. For example, the user may use a computer with a display to show representations of the controller and the lighting units associated with the controller. The user may select the controller, using the representation on the display, and cause all of the associated lighting units to energize allowing the user to identify their relative or absolute positions. A user may also elect to select a lighting unit address or representation associated with the controller to identify its particular position with the array of other lighting units. The user may repeat this process for all the associated lighting unit addresses to find their relative positions. Then, the user may rearrange the lighting unit representations on the display in an order that is more convenient (e.g. in order of the lighting units actual relative positions such as left to right). Information relating to the rearrangement may then be used to facilitate future communications with the lighting units. For example, the information may be communicated to the controller and the lighting units to generate new ‘working’ addresses for the lighting units that correspond with the re-arrangement. In another embodiment, the information may be stored in a configuration file to facilitate the proper communication to the lighting units.
In embodiments a method of determining/compiling mapping information relating to the physical locations of lighting units is provided that includes steps of providing a display system; providing a representation of a first and second lighting unit wherein the representations are associated with a first address; providing a user interface wherein a user can select a lighting unit and cause the selected lighting units to energize; selecting a lighting unit to identify its position and repeating this step for the other lighting unit; re-arranging the representations of the first lighting unit and the second lighting unit on the display using a user interface; and communicating information to the lighting units relating to the rearrangement to set new system addresses. The method may include other steps such as storing information relating to the re-arrangement of the representations on a storage medium. The storage medium may be any electronic storage medium such as a hard drive; CD; DVD; portable memory system or other memory device. The method may also include the step of storing the address information in a lighting unit as the lighting unit working address.
In various embodiments, once the lighting units have been identified, the lighting unit controller may transmit the address information to a computer system. The computer system may include a display (e.g., a graphics user interface) where a representation of the lighting unit controller is displayed as an object. The display may also provide representations of the lighting unit 102 as an object. In an embodiment, the computer, possibly through a user interface, may be used to re-arrange the order of the lighting unit representations. For example, a user may click on the lighting unit representation and all of the lighting units associated with the lighting unit controller may energize to provide the user with a physical interpretation of the placement of the lighting unit (e.g. they are located on above the window on the 72nd floor of the building). Then, the user may click on individual lighting unit representations to identify the physical location of the lighting unit within the array of lighting units. As the user identifies the lighting unit locations, the user may rearrange the lighting unit representations on the computer screen such that they represent the ordering in the physical layout. In an embodiment, this information may be stored to a storage medium. The information may also be used in a configuration file such that future communications with the lighting units are directed per the configuration file. In an embodiment, information relating to the rearrangement may be transmitted to the lighting unit controller and new ‘working’ addresses may be assigned to the individual lighting units. This may be useful in providing a known configuration of lighting unit addresses to make the authoring of lighting shows and effects easier.
Another aspect of the present invention relates to systems and methods of communicating to large-scale networks of lighting units. In an embodiment, the communication to the lighting units originates from a central controller where information is communicated in high level commands to lighting unit controllers. The high level commands are then interpreted by the lighting unit controllers, and the lighting unit controllers generate lighting unit commands. In an embodiment, the lighting unit controller may include its own address such that commands can be directed to the associated lighting units through controller-addressed information. For example, the central controller may communicate light controller addressed information that contains instructions for a particular lighting effect. The lighting unit controller may monitor a network for its own address and once heard, read the associated information. The information may direct the lighting unit controller to generate a dynamic lighting effect (e.g. a moving rainbow of colors) and then communicate control signals to its associated lighting units to effectuate the lighting effect. In an embodiment, the lighting unit controller may also include group address information. For example, it may include a universe address that associates the controller with other controllers or systems to create a universe of controllers that can be addressed as a group; or it may include a broadcast address such that broadcast commands can be sent to all controllers on the network.
The light system manager 5000 may operate in part on the authoring computer 5010, which may include a mapping facility 5002. The mapping facility 5002 may include a graphical user interface 4212, or management tool, which may assist a user in mapping lighting units to locations. The management tool may include various panes, graphs or tables, each displayed in a window of the management tool. A lights/interfaces pane lists lighting units or lighting unit interfaces that are capable of being managed by the management tool. Interfaces may include power/data supplies (PDS) 1758 for one or more lighting systems, DMX interfaces, DALI interfaces, interfaces for individual lighting units, interfaces for a tile lighting unit, or other suitable interfaces. The interface also includes a groups pane, which lists groups of lighting units that are associated with the management tool, including groups that can be associated with the interfaces selected in the lights/interfaces pane. As described in more detail below, the user can group lighting units into a wide variety of different types of groups, and each group formed by the user can be stored and listed in the groups pane. The interface also includes the layout pane, which includes a layout of individual lighting units for a light system or interface that is selected in the lights/interfaces pane. The layout pane shows a representative geometry of the lighting units associated with the selected interface, such as a rectangular array if the interface is an interface for a rectangular tile light. The layout can be any other configuration, as described in connection with the other figures above. Using the interface 4212, a user can discover lighting systems or interfaces for lighting systems, map the layout of lighting units associated with the lighting system, and create groups of lighting units within the mapping, to facilitate authoring of shows or effects across groups of lights, rather than just individual lights. The grouping of lighting units dramatically simplifies the authoring of complex shows for certain configurations of lighting units.
It may be convenient to map lighting systems in various ways. For example, a rectangular array can be formed by suitably arranging a curvilinear string of lighting units. The string of lighting units may use a serial addressing protocol, such as described in the applications incorporated by reference herein, wherein each lighting unit in the string reads, for example, the last unaltered byte of data in a data stream and alters that byte so that the next lighting unit will read the next byte of data. If the number of lighting units N in a rectangular array of lighting units is known, along with the number of rows in which the lighting units are disposed, then, using a table or similar facility, a conversion can be made from a serial arrangement of lighting units 1 to N to another coordinate system, such as a Cartesian coordinate system. Thus, control signals can be mapped from one system to the other system. Similarly, effects and shows generated for particular configurations can be mapped to new configurations, such as any configurations that can be created by arranging a string of lighting units, whether the share is rectangular, square, circular, triangular, or has some other geometry. In embodiments, once a coordinate transformation is known for setting out a particular geometry of lights, such as building a two-dimensional geometry with a curvilinear string of lighting units, the transformation can be stored as a table or similar facility in connection with the light management system 5002, so that shows authored using one authoring facility can be converted into shows suitable for that particular geometric arrangement of lighting units using the light management system 5002. The light system composer 5004 can store pre-arranged effects that are suitable for known geometries, such as a color chasing rainbow moving across a tile light with sixteen lighting units in a four-by-four array, a burst effect moving outward from the center of an eight-by-eight array of lighting units, or many others.
Various other geometrical configurations of lighting units are so widely used as to benefit from the storing of pre-authored coordinate transformations, shows and effects. For example, a rectangular configuration is widely employed in architectural lighting environments, such as to light the perimeter of a rectangular item, such as a space, a room, a hallway, a stage, a table, an elevator, an aisle, a ceiling, a wall, an exterior wall, a sign, a billboard, a machine, a vending machine, a gaming machine, a display, a video screen, a swimming pool, a spa, a walkway, a sidewalk, a track, a roadway, a door, a tile, an item of furniture, a box, a housing, a fence, a railing, a deck, or any other rectangular item. Similarly, a triangular configuration can be created, using a curvilinear string of lighting units, or by placing individual addressable lighting units in the configuration. Again, once the locations of lighting units and the dimensions of the triangle are known, a transformation can be made from one coordinate system to another, and pre-arranged effects and shows can be stored for triangular configurations of any selected number of lighting units. Triangular configurations can be used in many environments, such as for lighting triangular faces or items, such as architectural features, alcoves, tiles, ceilings, floors, doors, appliances, boxes, works of art, or any other triangular items.
Lighting units 102 can be placed in the form of a character, number, symbol, logo, design mark, trademark, icon, or other configuration designed to convey information or meaning. The lighting units can be strung in a curvilinear string to achieve any configuration in any dimension. Again, once the locations of the lighting units are known, a conversion can be made between Cartesian (x, y) coordinates and the positions of the lighting units in the string, so that an effect generated using a one coordinate system can be transformed into an effect for the other. Characters such as those mentioned above can be used in signs, on vending machines, on gaming machines, on billboards, on transportation platforms, on buses, on airplanes, on ships, on boats, on automobiles, in theatres, in restaurants, or in any other environment where a user wishes to convey information.
Lighting units can be configured in any arbitrary geometry, not limited to two-dimensional configurations. For example, a string of lighting units can cover two sides of a building. The three-dimensional coordinates (x, y, z) can be converted based on the positions of the individual lighting units in the string. Once a conversion is known between the (x, y, z) coordinates and the string positions of the lighting units, shows authored in Cartesian coordinates, such as for individually addressable lighting units, can be converted to shows for a string of lighting units, or vice versa. Pre-stored shows and effects can be authored for any geometry, whether it is a string or a two- or three-dimensional shape. These include rectangles, squares, triangles, geometric solids, spheres, pyramids, tetrahedrons, polyhedrons, cylinders, boxes and many others, including shapes found in nature, such as those of trees, bushes, hills, or other features.
Using a mapping facility, light systems can optionally be mapped into separate zones, such as DMX zones. The zones can be separate DMX zones, including zones located in different rooms of a building. The zones can be located in the same location within an environment. In embodiments the environment can be a stage lighting environment.
Thus, in various embodiments, the mapping facility allows a user to provide a grouping facility for grouping light systems, wherein grouped light systems respond as a group to control signals. In embodiments the grouping facility comprises a directed graph. In embodiments, the grouping facility comprises a drag and drop user interface. In embodiments, the grouping facility comprises a dragging line interface. The grouping facility can permit grouping of any selected geometry, such as a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional space. In embodiments, the grouping facility can permit grouping as a two-dimensional representation that is mapped to light systems in a three-dimensional space. In embodiments, the grouping facility groups lights into groups of a predetermined conventional configuration, such as a rectangular, two-dimensional array, a square, a curvilinear configuration, a line, an oval, an oval-shaped array, a circle, a circular array, a square, a triangle, a triangular array, a serial configuration, a helix, or a double helix.
In embodiments a user can select an animation effect, in which a user can generate an effect using software used to generate a dynamic image, such as Flash 5 computer software offered by Macromedia, Incorporated. Flash 5 is a widely used computer program to generate graphics, images and animations. Other useful products used to generate images include, for example, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe LiveMotion.
Various effects can be created, such as a fractal effect, a random color effect, a sparkle effect, streak effect, sweep effect, white fade effect, XY burst effect, XY spiral effect, and text effect.
As seen in connection with the various embodiments of the user interface 4212 and related figures, methods and systems are included herein for providing a light system composer 5004 for allowing a user to author a lighting show using a graphical user interface 4212. The light system composer 5004 includes an effect authoring system for allowing a user to generate a graphical representation of a lighting effect. In embodiments the user can set parameters for a plurality of predefined types of lighting effects, create user-defined effects, link effects to other effects, set timing parameters for effects, generate meta effects, and generate shows comprised of more than one meta effect, including shows that link meta effects.
In embodiments, a user may assign an effect to a group of light systems. Many effects can be generated, such as a color chasing rainbow, a cross fade effect, a custom rainbow, a fixed color effect, an animation effect, a fractal effect, a random color effect, a sparkle effect, a streak effect, an X burst effect, an XY spiral effect, and a sweep effect.
In embodiments an effect can be an animation effect. In embodiments the animation effect corresponds to an animation generated by an animation facility. In embodiments the effect is loaded from an animation file. The animation facility can be a flash facility, a multimedia facility, a graphics generator, or a three-dimensional animation facility.
In embodiments the lighting show composer facilitates the creation of meta effects that comprise a plurality of linked effects. In embodiments the lighting show composer generates an XML file containing a lighting show according to a document type definition for an XML parser for a light engine. In embodiments the lighting show composer includes stored effects that are designed to run on a predetermined configuration of lighting systems. In embodiments the user can apply a stored effect to a configuration of lighting systems. In embodiments the light system composer includes a graphical simulation of a lighting effect on a lighting configuration. In embodiments the simulation reflects a parameter set by a user for an effect. In embodiments the light show composer allows synchronization of effects between different groups of lighting systems that are grouped using the grouping facility. In embodiments the lighting show composer includes a wizard for adding a predetermined configuration of light systems to a group and for generating effects that are suitable for the predetermined configuration. In embodiments the configuration is a rectangular array, a string, or another predetermined configuration.
Once a show is downloaded to the light system engine 5008, the light system engine 5008 can execute one or more shows in response to a wide variety of user input. For example, a stored show can be triggered for a lighting unit 102 that is mapped to a particular PDS 1758 associated with a light system engine 5008. There can be a user interface for triggering shows downloaded on the light system engine 5008. For example, the user interface may be a keypad, with one or more buttons for triggering shows. Each button might trigger a different show, or a given sequence of buttons might trigger a particular show, so that a simple push-button interface can trigger many different shows, depending on the sequence. In embodiments, the light system engine 5008 might be associated with a stage lighting system, so that a lighting operator can trigger pre-scripted lighting shows during a concert or other performance by pushing the button at a predetermined point in the performance.
In embodiments, other user interfaces can trigger shows stored on a light system engine 5008, such as a knob, a dial, a button, a touch screen, a serial keypad, a slide mechanism, a switch, a sliding switch, a switch/slide combination, a sensor, a decibel meter, an inclinometer, a thermometer, a anemometer, a barometer, or any other input capable of providing a signal to the light system engine 5008. In embodiments the user interface is the serial keypad, wherein initiating a button on the keypad initiates a show in at least one zone of a lighting system governed by a light system engine connected to the keypad.
Examples of the signal(s) that may be received and processed by the processor 3600 include, but are not limited to, one or more audio signals, video signals, power signals, various types of data signals, signals representing information obtained from a network (e.g., the Internet), signals representing some detectable/sensed condition, signals from lighting units, signals consisting of modulated light, etc. In various implementations, the signal source(s) 8400 may be located remotely from the lighting unit 102, or included as a component of the lighting unit. For example, in one embodiment, a signal from one lighting unit 102 could be sent over a network to another lighting unit 102.
Some examples of a signal source 8400 that may be employed in, or used in connection with, the lighting unit 102 of
Additional examples of a signal source 8400 include various metering/detection devices that monitor electrical signals or characteristics (e.g., voltage, current, power, resistance, capacitance, inductance, etc.) or chemical/biological characteristics (e.g., acidity, a presence of one or more particular chemical or biological agents, bacteria, etc.) and provide one or more signals based on measured values of the signals or characteristics. Yet other examples of a signal source 8400 include various types of scanners, image recognition systems, voice or other sound recognition systems, artificial intelligence and robotics systems, and the like.
A signal source 8400 could also be a lighting unit 102, a processor 3600, or any one of many available signal generating devices, such as media players, MP3 players, computers, DVD players, CD players, television signal sources, camera signal sources, microphones, speakers, telephones, cellular phones, instant messenger devices, SMS devices, wireless devices, personal organizer devices, and many others.
Many types of signal source 8400 can be used, for sensing any condition or sending any kind of signal, such as temperature, force, electricity, heat flux, voltage, current, magnetic field, pitch, roll, yaw, acceleration, rotational forces, wind, turbulence, flow, pressure, volume, fluid level, optical properties, luminosity, electromagnetic radiation, radio frequency radiation, sound, acoustic levels, decibels, particulate density, smoke, pollutant density, positron emissions, light levels, color, color temperature, color saturation, infrared radiation, x-ray radiation, ultraviolet radiation, visible spectrum radiation, states, logical states, bits, bytes, words, data, symbols, and many others described herein, described in the documents incorporated by reference herein, and known to those of ordinary skill in the arts.
In embodiments the lighting unit 102 can include a timing feature based on an astronomical clock, which stores not simply time of day, but also solar time (sunrise, sunset) and can be used to provide other time measurements such as lunar cycles, tidal patterns and other relative time events (harvest season, holidays, hunting season, fiddler crab season, etc.) In embodiments, using a timing facility, a controller 202 can store data relating to such time-based events and make adjustments to control signals based on them. For example, a lighting unit 102 can allow ‘cool’ color temperature in the summer and warm color temperatures in the winter.
In embodiments the sensor 8402 can be a light sensor, and the sensor can provide control of a lighting signal based on a feedback loop, in which an algorithm modifies the lighting control signal based on the lighting conditions measured by the sensor. In embodiments, a closed-loop feedback system can read spectral properties and adjust color rendering index, color temperature, color, intensity, or other lighting characteristics based on user inputs or feedback based on additional ambient light sources to correct or change light output.
A feedback system, whether closed loop or open loop, can be of particular use in rendering white light. Some LEDs, such as those containing amber, can have significant variation in wavelength and intensity over operating regimes. Some LEDs also deteriorate quickly over time. To compensate for the temperature change, a feedback system can use a sensor to measure the forward voltage of the LEDs, which gives a good indication of the temperature at which the LEDs are running. In embodiments the system could measure forward voltage over a string of LEDs rather than the whole fixture and assume an average value. This could be used to predict running temperature of the LED to within a few percent. Lifetime variation would be taken care of through a predictive curve based on experimental data on performance of the lights. Degradation can be addressed through an LED that produces amber or red through another mechanism such as phosphor conversion and does this through a more stable material, die or process. Consequently, CRI could also improve dramatically. That LED plus a bluish white or Red LED then enables a color temperature variable white source with good CRI.
In embodiments a lighting system may coordinate with an external system 8800, such as to trigger lighting shows or effects in response to events of the external system, to coordinate the lighting system with the other system, or the like. External systems 8800 can include other lighting systems 100, entertainment systems, security systems, control systems, information technology systems, servers, computers, personal digital assistants, transportation systems, and many other computer-based systems, including control signals for specific commercial or industrial applications, such as machine vision systems, photographic systems, medical systems, pool systems, spa systems, automotive systems, and many others.
A lighting system 100 can be used to produce various effects 9200, including static effects, dynamic effects, meta effects, geometric effects, object-oriented shows and the like. Effects can include illumination effects 9300, where light from a lighting unit 102 illuminates another object, such as a wall, a diffuser, or other object. Illumination effects 9300 include generating white lighting with color-temperature control. Effects can also include direct view effects 9400, where light sources 300 are viewed directly or through another material. Direct view effects includes displays, works of art, information effects, and others. Effects can include pixel-like effects, effects that occur along series or strings of lighting units 102, effects that take place on arrays of lighting units 102, and three-dimensional effects.
In various embodiments of the present invention, the lighting unit 102 shown in
In embodiments linear strings or series of lights can embody time-based effects 4854, such as to light a lighting unit 102 in a series when a timed-pulse crosses the location of that lighting unit 102.
Effects can be designed to play on arrays 4860, such as created by strings of lighting units 102 that are arranged in such arrays. Effects can be designed in accordance with target areas 4862 that are lit by lighting units 102, rather than in accordance with the lighting units 102 themselves.
Lighting systems 100 can be found in a wide range of environments 9600. Referring to
The various concepts discussed herein may be suitably implemented in a variety of environments involving LED-based light sources, other types of light sources not including LEDs, environments that involve both LEDs and other types of light sources in combination, and environments that involve non-lighting-related devices alone or in combination with various types of light sources.
The combination of white light with light of other colors as light sources for lighting units 102 can offer multi-purpose lights for many commercial and home applications, such as in pools, spas, automobiles, building interiors (commercial and residential), indirect lighting applications, such as alcove lighting, commercial point of purchase lighting, merchandising, toys, beauty, signage, aviation, marine, medical, submarine, space, military, consumer, under cabinet lighting, office furniture, landscape, residential including kitchen, home theater, bathroom, faucets, dining rooms, decks, garage, home office, household products, family rooms, tomb lighting, museums, photography, art applications, and many others.
One environment 9600 is a retail environment. An object might be an item of goods to be sold, such as apparel, accessories, electronics, toys, food, or any other retail item. The lighting units 102 can be controlled to light the object with a desired form of lighting. For example, the right color temperature of white light can render the item in a true color, such as the color that it will appear in daylight. This may be desirable for food items or for apparel items, where color is very significant. In other cases, the lighting units 102 can light the item with a particular color, to draw attention to the items, such as by flashing, by washing the item with a chasing rainbow, or by lighting the item with a distinctive color. In other cases the lighting can indicate data, such as rendering items that are on sale in a particular color, such as green. The lighting can be controlled by a central controller, so that different items are lit in different colors and color temperatures along any timeline selected by the user. Lighting systems can also interact with other computer systems, such as cards or handheld devices of a user. For example, a light can react to a signal from a user's handheld device, to indicate that the particular user is entitled to a discount on the object that is lit in a particular color when the user is in proximity. The lighting units 102 can be combined with various sensors that produce a signal source 8400. For example, an object may be lit differently if the system detects proximity of a shopper.
Subjects to be displayed under controlled lighting conditions also appear in other environment, such as entertainment environments, museums, galleries, libraries, homes, workplaces, and the like.
In a workplace environment lighting units 102 can be used to light the environment 9600, such as a desk, cubicle, office, workbench, laboratory bench, or similar workplace environment. The lighting systems can provide white and non-white color illumination of various colors, color temperatures, and intensities, so that the systems can be used for conventional illumination as well as for aesthetic, entertainment, or utilitarian effects, such as illuminating workplace objects with preferred illumination conditions, such as for analysis or inspection, presenting light shows or other entertainment effects, or indicating data or status. For example, coupled with a signal source 8400, such as a sensor, the workplace lighting systems could illuminate in a given color or intensity to indicate a data condition, such as speed of a factory line, size of a stock portfolio, outside temperature, presence of a person in an office, whether someone is available to meet, or the like.
In embodiments, lighting systems can include an architectural lighting system, an entertainment lighting system, a restaurant lighting system, a stage lighting system, a theatrical lighting system, a concert lighting system, an arena lighting system, a signage system, a building exterior lighting system, a landscape lighting system, a pool lighting system, a spa lighting system, a transportation lighting system, a marine lighting system, a military lighting system, a stadium lighting system, a motion picture lighting system, photography lighting system, a medical lighting system, a residential lighting system, a studio lighting system, and a television lighting system.
In embodiments of the methods and systems provided herein, the lighting systems can be disposed on a vehicle, an automobile, a boat, a mast, a sail, an airplane, a wing, a fountain, a waterfall or similar item. In other embodiments, lighting units can be disposed on a deck, a stairway, a door, a window, a roofline, a gazebo, a jungle gym, a swing set, a slide, a tree house, a club house, a garage, a shed, a pool, a spa, furniture, an umbrella, a counter, a cabinet, a pond, a walkway, a tree, a fence, a light pole, a statue or other object.
LED Package Disclosure
Other embodiments of LED packages that include an LED die 5654 and a submount 5670 may be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art and are encompassed herein. In embodiments the LED die 5654 may be is a high-power LED die. In embodiments the LED die 5654 may be a five watt or greater LED die.
The substrate 5652 of the embodiments of
In the various embodiments described herein, an LED 5654 may be controlled by the electronic components of the submount 5770. In addition to offering basic “on” and “off” or protection circuitry, in embodiments of the inventions electronic components located in the submount 5670 that is integrated with the LED 5654 in the package 5650 can control the intensity or apparent intensity of light coming from the LED 5654, such as by controlling the level of current to the LED, by controlling the amplitude of pulses or current to the LED (pulse amplitude modulation), by controlling the width of pulses of current to the LED (pulse width modulation) or by a combination of any of the foregoing. Thus, the various embodiments described herein for providing such control can be embodied in the submount 5670, such as in packages of the types disclosed in connection with
In embodiments the ASIC 6652 may respond to signals 6654 according to a serial addressing protocol, such as described in connection with
In embodiments the LED packages 5650 disclosed throughout this disclosure may be incorporated into displays, such as a graphics display, a monitor, a video display, or an animation display, such as a large-scale display for display on a wall, building, or the like. In embodiments such a display may include a string of nodes, each of which includes an LED package 5650, with each package including an ASIC 6652 on the submount 5670. The ASIC 6652 may be configured to receive a video signal in various formats, including a video signal delivered according to a serial addressing protocol.
Lighting units 102 that include LED packages 5650 such as disclosed in connection with
In embodiments the LED package 5650 may be provided with other elements, such as a user interface for programming the LED package. For example, the LED package 5650 could be provided with a set of resistors, where each resistor, when placed in series with the LED package 5650, adjusts the control signal to the LED package 5650 to operate in a different mode, or wherein the resistor or other user interface assists in identifying the type of LED package 5650 that is being used, such as to assist in addressing control signals to the LED package 5650.
While Peltier modules are one solid state technique for temperature control, it will be appreciated that other techniques are known and may be usefully employed with the systems described herein. For example, an active cooling system may use an electrokinetic pump with no moving parts to move a cooling fluid through microchannels etched into a semiconductor material. A sealed cooling loop may be formed, with microchannel heat collectors attached to a packaged semiconductor to absorb heat generated by hot spots. The heat may then travel short distances to a fluid flowing through channels in the collectors which may be, for example, 20 to 100 microns wide each. Thus heat may be transported away from a chip to a radiator where the heat is exhausted to the outside air. The fluid may then travel through a solid-state pump to complete the cooling loop. One such system is commercially available from Cooligy, Inc., and described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,678,168, the teachings of which are incorporated herein by reference.
The LED packages 5650 of
In embodiments the LED packages 5650 may be compression molded or injection molded and may include plastic, metal, ceramic, epoxy, glass, polymer, and compound materials.
In embodiments the LED packages 5650 can be used in a variety of illumination, indication and display applications, product and environments as described herein and in the documents incorporated by reference herein.
In embodiments an LED package 5650 may be equipped with a circuit for accepting a low-voltage input, such as an input from a battery, such as a one and one-half volt battery.
In other embodiments, the LED packages 5650 may be used in a wide variety of devices, products, applications, environments and systems, such as casino gaming devices, personal computers, computer gaming devices, entertainment devices, elevators, automation systems, such as for factories, traffic signals, photographic flashes and the like.
With the control facility 3500 a user can select any one or more desired colors (color temperature, hue, saturation, intensity, brightness) that light the subject 10254 from the lighting system 100. This also allows independent adjustment of hue, saturation and brightness. Because the color gamut for LED-based lighting systems 100 is typically much greater than that of the printed or displayed image that is generated after it is captured by the camera 10252, the lighting system 100 provides a range of control that exceeds the color requirements of the image. In addition, the photographer has the ability to see what will result in the camera, or it can be viewed on a computer or monitor immediately. This ability to see the final setup can minimize or eliminate post-production efforts. This color control can be accomplished through a networked device, controller or console, which can, under user control, vary the light output from multiple channels. Control facilities 3500 may include any control facility 3500 described herein, such as those described in connection with
In continuous lighting for film and photography, the lighting can radiate great amounts of heat. With LED lighting systems 100 there is little radiated heat (IR energy) and typically little or no UV (unless UV LEDs are selected as light sources 300). This offers tremendous advantages for industrial or commercial photography. The application areas that benefit from these features include affecting cosmetics and makeup, perishables such as food, drink and ice or even the reduced or eliminated sweating of people and animals. Other materials and products that can be sensitive to the heat generated by traditional lighting include fabrics, perfumes, any bottled liquids, and any setups involving liquids, perishables and sensitive materials, all of which can be negatively impacted by traditional lighting systems when photographed.
LED systems 100 can be used with existing sources and reduce key and other lighting needs. Color and color temperature control offers tremendous matching flexibility to other light sources or for a particular selection of lighting color and direction.
In embodiments the LED lighting systems 100 offer temporal control; for example, the user can set lighting systems 100 to slowly change to get many types of shots over a period of time. Another area of flexibility and design is that of spatial control. Led systems 100 can be arranged over distance to provide particular shadowing and color to provide a variation in lighting. The addressing and networking capabilities described herein, such using a string of lighting systems 100 that use a serial addressing protocol, offer convenient control over complex arrangements of lighting systems 100 for photographic purposes.
In embodiments lighting systems 100 can be modulated up to maximum current levels to provide different apparent intensities to the eye. LEDs can be pulsed with higher currents than otherwise allowable in a continuous mode to give higher output. For photography this would allow a substantial improvement in output without damage to the LED emitter since the pulsed mode is not continuous. Pulsing at higher currents can provide several times the output over a short period of time (tens of milliseconds) or even longer if the thermal path is sufficient to keep the LED die below a threshold temperature. A thermal facility 2500, such as active cooling or a large passive heat-sink (or other thermal facilities 2500 described herein), can be used to absorb and dissipate the additional thermal energy away from the device to provide a safe operating means.
Digital photography tends to pick up flicker in traditional light sources such as fluorescent lighting, and such flicker can cause banding across the image. Banding occurs since some pixels get less illumination during the very short periods of time that the light is dimmer or brighter. This may not be noticeable on lower resolution point-and-shoot digital cameras, but with a large-format digital system it is noticeable when any pixel row received less light. Currently fluorescent lighting can, in some cases, produce noticeable banding in images. A lighting system 100 can be controlled via analog techniques or very rapid modulation (of a variety of means) to produce no flicker in the resultant image.
The process of using a gray card 10352 in such a situation can be as follows. First, the user can image the gray card (See
Another means is to provide a lighting control from the camera to adjust the lighting until the illumination on the reference card is correct and automatically balanced on that reading. Again, the camera should have the gray card in the image and either that region selected or a feature that selects a particular region of the image no matter what (for example, the center of the image which, in the display on the digital camera can be outlined to insure that you have the correct area covered in the image) may be included in the camera. A manual system may be included in the camera whereby the lighting color is adjusted and the camera indicates that the correct color-balance is reached. The lighting can be adjusted by one of many user interface devices to select color or HSB values until the camera reading is where desired.
In this manner, a known reference surface within the image can be used to calibrate and provide a reference color. Although this is sometimes used in post-production, this can now be done at the camera itself, through a traditional means of white balance, or the camera or other device can control the lighting to change the illumination to provide the desired color balance.
Control settings for a lighting system 100 can include adjustment to simulate a particular time of day. This can be accomplished through positioning as well as color temperature control. With the turn of a dial or other user interface, an accurate rendition of the type and direction of light can be accomplished for establishing the lighting for a studio shot for still or video camera. Referring to
In embodiments it may be preferable to use small lighting systems 100 to highlight specific areas. For example, in portraiture, small LED-based lights can be used for highlights. Applications areas include fashion photography, cosmetics, beauty, hair, still photography and the like. Color is inconsistent from person to person, not just due to obvious ethnic differences. Facial coloring, mottled skin, hair and clothes can all dramatically affect lighting. As a result of individually controlled lighting systems 100, lighting can be adjusted and customized for each person during the photo shoot.
In embodiments lighting systems 100 can be located in a variety of areas using clamps (spring clamps, toggle clamps, screw clamps and other standard clamping mechanisms) and other types of fastener mounting arrangements including hardware, adhesives, hook and loop fasteners and other fasteners.
The camera 10252 or a second device 8400 can also provide sensor feedback about lighting settings and provide that information to the camera 10252, the PC or a controller. Even the lighting units 102 themselves can have built-in sensing to adjust their light which can be adjusted due to the color and surfaces of the surroundings and the subject.
Thus the sensing element 8400 can be located in the camera 10252 (the imaging sensor or a separate sensing device such as a photocell or spectral radiometer), in a separate device 8400 or integral to the lighting system 100. Eventually a standard camera signal interface can be used to signal and control lights. The sensing element 8400 can be built directly into the camera 10252 or provided as a separate device that communicates to the camera via a wired or wireless link. The advantage is that the imager is what receives the image and thus that is the point of imaging that should have that part of the feedback loop. However, the sensor 8400 can be independent of the camera 10252 and be a module that controls the camera 10252 or can be tied directly to the lighting control facility 3500 or to the lighting units 102 themselves. The sensor 8400 can provide detailed information that is based on an imaging sensor or a single scalar value that is representative of the scene. This information can be analyzed by known techniques to provide color information at imaging resolution or a single value that represents the overall amount of light. The quantity of data is directly related to what is possible in the control of the lighting.
Referring again to
Correct color rendition of an image requires that the recording media such as the film or imaging elements and the light source match. For example, using Tungsten film under fluorescent lighting will result in an off-colored image due to the particular sensitivity of the film to the light spectrum. Indoor lighting is typically yellow-green, for example due to fluorescent spectra, and outdoor lighting is typically blue during the day. Cinema film is designed to be exposed with a particular balanced color temperature, typically around 3200°K. If illumination is dominated by a certain wavelength, then that color will dominate the scene. This is often undesirable, and color correction can correct for the proper colors and color balance in the image. With the digital imaging process and even film the use of digital LED-based lighting systems 100 makes correction possible before the image is captured.
In embodiments, lighting systems 100 can provide direct coupling of scene lighting and the camera 10252 to either adjust the camera color balance, or for the camera 10252 (or add-on device) to control the lighting to provide a color balancing function. While color correction is often provided in cameras 10252 (color balance or white balance) it is not typically tied to a lighting system 100 because, heretofore, lighting systems did not provide the level of control necessary to give accurate color control. White is also a color, and an adjustable LED-based high CRI white light source whose color temperature can be varied can provide similar control or feedback capability.
An example, not intended to be limiting in any way, may include a user interface to adjust color temperature of the LED-based lighting systems 100. For example a dial and display, calibrated to provide an accurate and desired color temperature value can be used to set a particular color temperature for a shoot. Color temperature can be set independently for each fixture so as to provide a pleasing variation across the resultant image, or all units can be coordinated and synchronized to provide the same light color or color temperature. In addition, to provide some variation and bracket shots over time, the color temperature can be set to vary over time. Thus, the lighting colors and settings can be fixed to provide consistent color, to vary spatially or vary over time.
Making a photo shoot is often a balance of incremental changes to achieve the desired look. This often involves changes in the camera 10252, lighting systems 100, lenses, film (in the analog film case) or even afterwards, the use of post-production techniques to re-touch or edit photographic images. Even during shoots, photographers will often shoot instant film (such as Polaroid®) to test the set-up.
In the course of setting up a scene for shooting, the lighting is often adjusted to highlight specific areas or subject matter or, in other cases, reduced to create texture or shadow. In the traditional process, lights are physically adjusted, aimed, focused and filtered to get the desired effect. In this embodiment, LED-based lights are set up in a general pattern, perhaps covering an entire area or set, and then the cinematographer or director can command more or less light, or specific color in particular areas and the array of fixtures can be set to produce the required effect. This embodiment provides great flexibility and control. As shown in
The scene can be modeled in 3D by directly modeling the environment in a CAD or drawing package and the lighting positions can be built into that model as well. In this way a scene can be simulated ahead of time or changed during the shoot itself by controlling the virtual model and then having the physical light correspond to the model. Thus, the set can be controlled directly from the model.
In a situation where the physical manifestation of the set is not previously modeled, a camera system can be used to capture the relative or absolute position of the illumination on the set through the use of a 3D capture system using computer vision techniques. This is similar to the system described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/163,164, filed Jun. 5, 2002, entitled “Systems and Methods of Generating Control Signals,” which application is hereby incorporated herein by reference. Once such a model is determined, the representation can be used in the above scenario. A series of lights can be activated in a sequential manner to light up various aspects of the scene. Each light, in turn, is activated to give information about its relation to the scene and specifics of its illumination of the scene through the camera system. This modeling system need not be the same camera 10252 used for the final shooting. In this way, active control of lighting to the point where a director can say “put a little more light here,” can be translated into direct control of the light.
Another approach is to use the live image and, with the lighting model in place, use the computer I/O (keyboard, joysticks, touch screen, trackball or the like) to indicate areas and provide user input to change lighting parameters for that particular region through the user interface. In
Digital cameras 10252 have digital interfaces for uploading and downloading images to computers, printers, memory storage device. They also provide for mechanical loading of memory (CompactFlash, Sandisk etc). These interfaces can be extended to provide sensing and lighting control facilities 3500. This can be accomplished though standard networks and protocols such as Firewire (IEEE 1394), USB, Bluetooth, or Ethernet. More generally, protocols might include Internet Protocol and physical connections may be wired serial connections, wireless RF connections, IR and other standard means for communicating data.
An embodiment of the present invention relates to the coupling of camera imaging sensing and actions relating to the control of lighting to produce a desired effect, including color balancing using the imaging device or lighting. Indicators or controls can be provided on the camera to dial in desired color temperatures via manual control or allow the camera 10252 to do that automatically. In particular the camera 10252 can provide imaging and then analysis (color balancing, histogram analysis, standard image analysis etc) and then determine the best setting for lighting to adjust color balance. This information can then be sent over a communication link to the lighting system 100.
In embodiments a signal source 8400, such as a sensor can be provided. The sensing device can be the imaging sensor itself. A calibrated imaging sensor can provide accurate feedback and even, internal to the camera 10252, provide image analysis for setting up appropriate offsets, adjustments and even, through a feedback system, control of external devices, such as lighting, that permit change within the scene. The digital camera 10252 can then be used as a platform for image analysis and control of lighting systems 100 to optimize image color, brightness, saturation levels and more.
Color proofing is the process of creating a faithful rendition of color to result in a printed image that is accurate. Digital cameras 10252 can have high sensitivity to light, but this can result in poor color saturation. One of the advantages of an LED lighting system 100 is a natural coupling or correspondence to the RGB elements in a CCD or CMOS imaging array or other imaging chips. That is, the spectrum emitted by the LED narrow band emitters is a good match for the spectral sensitivity of the imaging elements of the imaging chips. The saturated colors can work with the imaging device to provide and fill the saturation necessary for a good image while still providing the low light sensitivity. Thus, lesser amounts of light can be necessary through the use of lighting that provides good saturated color output and control. The adjustments of color are similarly a natural match to the output of the imaging device, and calibration can be provided through a feedback loop either through the camera or a separate device.
Color correction and image adjustments are often made in software applications, such as Photoshop, which provide many tools for editing the image. These features include color correction, brightness adjustments, touch-ups, editable compositing, masking, cropping and much more. Additional functionality is often provided through software plug-in modules that add editing features as well as communication with external devices such as scanners, cameras and other devices.
Once post-production touch up and editing occurs there is a loss of information from the original image. One of the primary advantages of evaluating the image and then adjusting the lighting in situ is that information is preserved and subsequently post-production work is reduced. Fundamentally, the advantage of this system is the reduction of the post-production work by controlling the outcome through lighting prior to the final version.
A new stand-alone application or plug-in module is proposed wherein a desired color or intensity value is selected and the lighting provides color correction. Such a module could be used as a Photoshop plug-in or with other post-production software for image editing. In this case, however, instead of merely using the editing software after the image has been captured and imported, the image could be imported, examined and the photo-editing program could be used to control the ‘live’ setting via the communication to the lighting system to a desired outcome of color and brightness. Plug-in architectures allow control of external devices such as scanners and so this can be seen as a very different functionality but with a similar principle of communication.
In general, with any lighting system 100 used with imaging software such as Photoshop, all neutral colors in the image should have a balanced set of RGB components (white surfaces for example). One sequence is to indicate a neutral area of the image and, instead of correcting the image, as is commonly done, correct the lighting in the scene. The RGB components can then be aligned to produce the correct neutral color in the un-retouched image. This can be a calculation based on the fixture output and the image data to produce an offset or change in the lighting to produce the desired outcome. This same area can be checked again and arrive at a desired level in a one or more steps. Thus direct calculation or an iterative process can be used to reach the desired outcome.
In embodiments, image information can also be annotated automatically or manually with exact settings of the lighting for the particular shot or sequence and provide useful information for future work, regardless of the type of lighting system used (i.e., including non-LED-based sources). The lighting information can be communicated to the camera 10252 and the information appended to or incorporated into the image file directly through meta-tags or a special format. The format can be as follows.
<image data encoded><date><time><open data field for lighting and other external devices>
This recording of lighting information in addition to such information as camera settings can be very useful to photographers and cinematographers. In general then, the annotation is an image of parameter values to store image information and external information such as lighting. External devices, in general, could connect to the camera 10252 to annotate and record specific settings for imaging in a wide variety of environments where microscopes, telescopes, computers, and other digital devices are used. In this way sensor and image readings can provide far more information than visual information. This can also include environmental information (climate, temperature, humidity, sensor readings and the like). In embodiments meta-tags or similar data can also be directly incorporated as a water-mark within the image data directly, so it is not perceptible to the eye but is available to programs that can decode the watermark information.
Traditional photography flash units are either integrated with power supplies and triggers (called mono-bloc units) or provided as separate components with capacitor banks, etc. to provide the energy required to power the flash unit. A typical setup involves the use of master and slave units where the master triggers the slave units during the shot. An LED lighting unit can be similarly configured with either integral power supplies, allowing wall plug-in capability or configurations of a power supply that powers several fixtures. Data sources and communication can be provided separately or integrally to these power supply and fixture systems.
Such master/slave systems can have power through a variety of means including wall-plug capability, battery packs and recharging systems, fuel cells, large capacitors and more. Synchronization methods between units can be done with IR, RF, wired systems, or any other electromagnetic means of communication.
Flash units are often specified in Ws (watt-second or Joule) ratings, which is a measure of the energy input to the flash. For portraiture, adjustable 500 Ws units are often used. LED lighting systems 100, whose performance and light output are improving at rapid rates, are able to provide sufficient light levels if an appropriate number of them are used, and this number will decrease over time, affording smaller and lighter units 102. Flash control with cameras is often automatic and triggers only when the light level falls below a specific level. Similarly, flash control can extend to exposure control (duration and shape of the flash) as well as red-eye reduction (typically a series of flashes to mitigate reflections from the eye). Flash use is often power limited (the amount of light), and results in unsightly shadows due to the close proximity of the flash source and the imaging device. This is why separate or adjustable flash units are preferred for most commercial photography. One embodiment is an LED lighting unit 102 that can be attached and provided with a coupling and adjustment so that they can be attached but aimed through a standard mounting means or separated entirely to provide the most flexibility in aiming and adjustment. A tilt-swivel head is one means to aim and control the direction of the flash unit.
Variable strobe times can also be used to insure sufficient lighting for a scene, especially in low light situations. Where there is little movement or where the time is still short enough to mitigate movement effects (blur) this can be used to provide sufficient lighting.
Digital cameras can automatically correct for non-neutral colors produced by incandescent sources by using white balance or white point correction features. This gives digital photography and filming a big advantage over traditional film-based photography. LED lighting systems 100, as with many light sources, can be shaped and controlled to provide particular characteristics. Spots can be used for highlighting particular areas; similarly, honeycombs can be used in front of the light sources to provide directionality (used in portraiture). Small sources can be hidden and used as key lights, they can also provide in-view lighting, and the light can be bounced off surfaces or directed through translucent materials to provide diffuse lighting or soft fill-lighting. Soft-boxes are often large translucent materials with interior light sources and fill lights are often directed at umbrella-shaped bowls to provide a diffuse indirect source of light.
Traditional light sources for photography include Tungsten Halide which although it has high output produces a lot of heat and has a hard lighting quality. HMI produces high output at a lower temperature but is costly and complicated. Fluorescent is also used and provides a diffused light that can be CT stable and cool. LED systems can provide all the advantages of fluorescent sources but also provide a degree of control not provided by any traditional lighting source.
In embodiments the LED systems described herein can provide CCT-tunable light, such as white light, such as for studio and stage light applications where lighting quality is very important.
Most lighting analysis is done by using filters that match the human visual response. This response is termed the eye response or “Vee-lambda” V(lambda), but an alternative is to use spectral radiometry. Such spectral measuring devices are becoming smaller and less expensive and can eventually be incorporated directly into imaging devices such as cameras. A spectrographic device can be incorporated directly into an imaging device such as a camera (for consumer or commercial use). This spectral information can be encoded into the image and/or used to change imaging parameters.
In outdoor applications, very often the ambient light is insufficient or does not provide proper fill lighting for a subject or due to environment such as a snow background. Additionally, in imaging under trees or in the presence of shadows, it is often desirable to add additional lighting.
With the camera-based lighting control, such ambient light can be automatically adjusted to be equivalent to the ambient lighting or to be an offset color to provide contrast. In either case the color-controlled lighting provides means to augment the natural light or other light sources with a camera/computer-controlled lighting system 100 during the imaging process. The camera 10252 or other measurement device can read the outside ambient light and, once having derived that information, analyze it to determine what setting the lighting should be so that the color matches the ambient lighting.
Such lights can, of course, be controlled independently of the camera 10252 or a feedback sensor and adjusted until it ‘looks’ right.
Another embodiment is directed to systems and methods for using a portable touch pad or tablet interface for controlling lighting via an easy-to-use user interface. The tablet can display a simple color interface—perhaps the whole spectrum arranged in a suitably pleasing and intuitive manner. This would allow an interactive means to dynamically control lighting in a variety of venues including a photographic session, a concert, a club, events and gatherings. See
A typical camera has a flash to provide illumination during the taking of an image. This is usually located, by necessity, close to the lens and often results in a ‘flash’ image appearance where all of the light comes from the viewpoint. In this embodiment, more than one such light can be made available for use in image taking by locating various LEDs on the camera body or attached to the ‘hot shoe’ normally used for attaching flash mechanisms. The existing ‘hot shoe’ can provide a direct mechanical and electrical interface to the LED lighting unit. The lights can be pulsed or sequenced in such as way as to improve image appearance, color or lighting.
In embodiments, lighting systems 100 including variants such as LEPs or OLEDS, can be produced in flat arrays, and a foldable structure 11052 can be used to make it amenable to packing and portability, as illustrated in
LED prices have trended downward and the price and performance ratio is moving as rapidly as trends in the computer industry because LED materials and processes share a great deal with the computer industry. As a result, it is now possible to create a disposable camera that incorporates LED lighting as an illumination source. The LEDs can be pulsed above normal continuous operating limits since the lifetime of the LED need not be very long to be useful in a disposable application.
While the invention has been described in connection with certain preferred embodiments, other embodiments will be recognized by those of ordinary skill in the art and are encompassed herein.